View Full Version : Keeping an Agent: how long between books?

01-30-2009, 01:20 AM
I was just wondering....

What if...

You get an agent but then you take a long time in writing your next manuscript? Do agents hold on to clients long term even if there's a quiet time in between manuscripts? Or is there some kind of deadline where if a writer isn't producing anything, the agent dumps the writer?

Reason I was thinking about this is because I've heard about writers/authors who take years finishing up a single project, so I wonder if that means that writer has to go out and find another agent each time or does the agent typically stick around during the slow times?

I figure every agent policy is different, but what do you think it's the norm?

Your thoughts?

Claudia Gray
01-30-2009, 02:12 AM
The main thing is going to be communicating with your agent. If your agent is unhappy with the time it's taking you to work, she'll prod you. If you realize you're going to needs months more to research, you tell her. I suspect that many agents are very patient as long as they are in touch with their clients, but if you drop off the grid and are producing no books, giving out no information, that seems like a recipe for getting dumped.

01-30-2009, 02:29 AM
Good points. This thought had occured to me, because I figure that most people are probably not prolific writers banging out book after book so easily. Some may be, but what about those who aren't.....

Thanks for your input.

01-30-2009, 02:32 AM
Depends on the agent. I'm fairly unprolific--I've had gaps of 5 years or more between books--but it's never been a problem--my agent doesn't push, and takes my books as I produce them. But I've heard from other writers whose agents have a less laid-back attitude, and aren't happy if there isn't regular production. This is particularly true in genre fiction.

Something to discuss with any agent who makes you an offer, maybe. If you aren't prolific and they know this upfront, they can better decide if you're truly someone they want to rep, and you can get a better sense of whether you're a good match.

- Victoria

01-30-2009, 06:15 AM
My agent is more interested in the quality of my next novel and not how fast it comes out...It might be different if I pitched a series but I write commercial fiction and each book is separate...

01-30-2009, 08:08 AM
Awesome. Thank you, Victoria and Orion for your info. Congrats by the way on your successes as authors!!

Now, what about if your first manuscript doesn't sell? how many manuscripts would an agent, on average, "let slide" (that is...they don't sell) before the agent might reconsider having signed on with you? Or do you think most agents stick by their writers if the writer is clearly making a big effort?

01-30-2009, 10:55 AM
That's purely an individual call- you might ask that of Nathan up in his thread at the top...

03-29-2009, 10:40 PM
It might depend on the agent.

My contract doesn't really specify what happens with things I produce in the future but it's mutually understood that I send my new writing to my agent. Even if it took me years (and I hope it doesn't) to produce something new, I would send it to her.

When you make a sale with a publisher, they will probably tell you how many books they're contracting you for though.