Thursday, October 22, 2009

Here's My Advice: Don't Do It

GalleyCat offers this little ditty about breaking up with your agent.
Break ups are messy, whether you're dealing with marriage break ups or business relationships. Such is the case with an agent-writer relationship. Somehow something went awry, the writer and agent were not on the same page, the writer had unrealistic expectations or perhaps the agent simply wanted to grab the writer before anyone else did and then sat on the writer to squash the competition from their existing client (rare, but it does happen).
Having done it more than once (with regrets to this day), I say why not just emulate my parents, who stayed together for 58 years despite the misery?  It's much more economically advantageous.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, I just caught Janet Reid's blog on changing agents. In a startling admission, the agent who is so clear almost all the queries she gets suck, divulged that she reps 41 authors and has only taken on two new authors in the last two years. Then she says "if you're thinking of changing agents you might want to consider a bright eyed eager energetic newer agent who is actively looking for good clients." Good advice, since I want an eager agent in any case and by her own admission, chances of becoming her client look like lottery odds.

What's infuriating is it's clear she's not actively looking. Are all those bad submissions just fodder for her to rag on in her flog? She could cut down on that pile of awful submissions--and waste less writers' time--by discouraging submissions up front and go by referral only, perhaps. Her taastes are obviously rarified. If you're thinking of getting a new agent at all, it sounds like you needn't bother She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Of course, it's good advice for all of us to be on the look out for agents who are out to make their bones, rep enthusiastically and are on the way up (preferably at an established agency where they've done their apprenticeship and have a master at the helm.)

Irksome, yes?

Anonymous said...

Janet Reid loves herself. Her blog is where she makes herself feel big. Fine. She clearly needs other people to be small for her to feel big and making fun of submissions is how she does it. But shouldn't we be equally mad at the people who go there and make her feel big?

I'm a lawyer and don't you think I have stupid people who want to be clients? Now this really isn't exactly the same thing, but imagine if I blogged about how stupid they were, giving examples, and then smugly said well, since I couldn't win that case, they were too stupid to take on. Or if I said things like hey, you didn't call me Counselor in your email, I didn't even read the rest, representation denied? I mean only in publishing does it seem so acceptable to put down and make fun of people who sought your representation.

Next said...

That's one of the best comparisons I've read. Nice. I think it is because you are judging somebody's sensibility, which can be more gross than their legal tangle, but that doesn't make it anymore acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you have to dump an agent, because there is a certain percentage of agents who will NOT dump you, no matter what. Sometimes an agent will love your first thing, maybe hate everything after, or maybe like your thing at first and have a VISION about what it can be, and grow slowly disillusioned when you fail to magically transform your thing into what the agent wants. So they sit on your thing, nitpick it, whatever. They are totally relieved when you dump them, because they are superstitious about dumping you. And just. Won't. Do it.

You are doing them a favor by quitting them, and yourself too.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about what they left in parentheses. Has that really happened? And who?