Okay, I guess it's time to come forward. I also fired Mr. Ruben, just before the new year.

My situation was a bit different; I didn't deal with the unresponsiveness because I was a "favorite." He does play favorites. I heard every complaint he had about every other client. I know because he told me that he didn't read their work. He "just didn't have time for that." I also knew who was getting fired before they did, and I knew he hadn't and wasn't going to talk to them about their options or their career. He was dumping them because they weren't making money fast enough.

I signed with him, naively, even after he admitted to only reading part of my manuscript. He told me he didn't need to read the rest because he was in love with my voice. Little did I know, he said the exact same thing to at least four other clients. He gave me special treatment though, so I quashed my doubts.

Even though he seemed more enthusiastic about my work than the work of other clients, there were always these nagging things that suggested he hadn't read it. He forgot main character's names and missed entire, very crucial plot points. But again, I ignored it because I was sure he was just too busy. I was sure other agents did the same thing.

Things got worse when I started to actually voice my doubts. He got very defensive and volatile. Eventually, I couldn't even disagree with him without him melting down. I reached out to some fellow writers who were dealing with him, and sure enough, everyone was having problems; bad communication, unsatisfactory submissions, and more than one told me they'd found out he lied about where he'd sent their work. I'm still in the process of finding out if any of my writing was actually in the hands of the editors he says it was.

This brings me to another point. Mr. Ruben doesn't come up with a submission strategy and talk it over with you. He doesn't write a pitch letter. According to him, he calls editors up and pitches them over the phone. I have a couple problems with these things. One: I don't think most editors take pitches over the phone. Two: I did all of my own research and decided who I wanted him to sub to, because he didn't do any. I'm not saying I don't want to do any work, but one of the great things about having an agent is having someone on your side who has personal relationships with editors, knows what they're looking for, and can get you in front of them. Mr. Ruben doesn't have a lot of contacts; he told me he didn't know most of the editors I'd chosen. But miraculously, I had a 100% request rate with his cold calling strategy. I do not believe this is true. Lastly: he doesn't do much in the author's best interest. I specifically told him I didn't want my manuscript subbed at a certain house. It was a very small house, and even if they offered, I wouldn't take the deal. He sent it there anyway because he was friends with the editor. I don't think that kind of trustless relationship is good for anyone.

Look, guys. I'm not trying to badmouth anyone. I'm not even sure what Mr. Ruben thinks he has to gain from all this. He's not charging anyone money. I think he just wants someone to do all the work so he can toss a few lines out, and if a deal happens to go through, make a fast 15%. I also think this is why he often signs writers with a deal-in-hand, without reading the work or talking to them about future projects. He isn't interested in building long term relationships; he's interested in negotiating his 15% of an advance.

So, there it is. I shouldn't have signed with him, but I did. I knew I shouldn't have stayed, but I did. I was afraid of being agentless again and jumping back in the trenches. But let me say this, guys: ALWAYS trust your instincts. No agent is better than a bad agent. And if you leave your bad agent, you can sign with a fabulous one who will love and champion your work.