View Full Version : Is my agent cheating on me with another author or is this normal?

04-21-2009, 02:52 AM
I spent 18 months and 45 queries finding an agent, an agent that AW posts and her track record assure me is very respected and trustworthy in addition to having repped bestsellers in my nonfiction genre. (ETA: She has always been extremely professional, friendly, and encouraging with me, as well.) Honestly, I'm blessed to have gotten her. What I kept hearing from agents was that the idea was good, the writing was good, and my platform was not strong enough to sell me to a publisher.

My agent and I have been back and forth with revisions and strategies since August 2008, and I sent what seemed like it would be the last round of those exactly a month ago. I wrote today to ask (professionally and cheerfully) for an update.

She says that she has another proposal out in my genre and doesn't want to give editors too many in that area with the market so tight, but will start submitting mine at the end of May.

Here's the thing: a new AW member just posted on my agent's AW info-requesting post that my agent accepted her proposal in my genre less than two weeks ago. Here are my questions:

1. How much alcohol can I safely consume in one night? (Okay, that would none since I'm pregnant, dammit.)
2. Should I be direct and ask if this is someone she just hired? Maybe I'm making assumptions when this proposal she has out now is someone she signed six months BEFORE me. I can't decide if it's even any of my business. If she says yes, then I feel like my project is second best and if she says no, then I feel like a goob for asking.
3. Either way, my project will likely go out in May, right?
4. Should I just say that's fine, thanks, and shut up? (That may come across as sarcastic when you can't hear my tone, but I truly mean it.)

I know it's childish of me, but I feel like I've been dumped for a prettier girl. Maybe large quantities of ice cream would be an acceptable alcohol substitute.

Matera the Mad
04-21-2009, 06:49 AM
Ice cream is not good for babies either. I would imagine that because of the nature of the business, an agent must sometimes make difficult choices. If an agent has two books to push and perceives -- for whatever reason -- that one might be easier to sell than another, there is a decision to make. Since you have not been rejected, you have a bright side to look on. It could take a long time anyway, and stewing about it won't help. Get your mind off it by writing something else.

04-21-2009, 06:58 AM
I don't know. Festering misunderstandings don't tend to make for good relationships. On the other hand, you don't want to be perceived as a needy prima donna.

Sorry, I'm not doing very good at offering advice, am I?

04-21-2009, 07:07 AM
My two bits (and Canadian bits at that!): the end of May is less than six weeks away. Based on how she treats you otherwise and her reputation, my advice is to sit tight and see what happens then.

PS Congrats on the baby! And the agent! \0/

PPS ::gets out the ice cream scoop and starts dishing::

04-21-2009, 04:57 PM
I think your agent is using a good approach for both of her clients.

This occurs not only in writing, but other industries as well. One good idea comes out, then almost immediately a variation on the theme comes out as well. Usually the second one bombs. Badly.

Here you have an agent who you know specializes (although I'm not sure I know of an agent who doesn't). Reality is she's going to get books that are somewhat similar. As she knows, the fact that a book is similar to another is not a kiss of death.

What is the kiss of death is glutting the market. I love eating lasagna. Give it to me every day and at some point I'll probably barf over it. Break it up and I continue to love it.

Your agent is being upfront and has a plan for maximizing both of your chances. I'd be counting my blessings.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

04-21-2009, 08:05 PM
Thanks for the help! I think just writing this post helped me figure out that I should assume the professional knows what she's doing and be patient. When I grow up I hope to be a writer with a much thicker skin who recognizes that business decisions do not always reflect on my personal worth as a human. :-) That may be a few books down the road...

In the meantime, I'm 20 pages into another project and (thank goodness) can immediately follow the advice to distract myself with that. After just a little more ice cream, you know, because the baby needs protein and calcium.

Lisa Schroeder
04-23-2009, 06:21 AM
Hi KCathy - I'm in Oregon too. :)

Agents don't want to make editors mad and submit too many things to them at once. My guess is that this isn't someone she just signed a couple of weeks ago, if she makes her authors polish up their work to make it the best it can be before submitting, like she did with your book.

I know it's hard to wait, but my guess is she's hoping the book out there now will either sell in the next 6 weeks, or she'll at least get rejections back, so then she's free to submit more work to these editors. She probably has editors she really likes working with and who have tastes similar to hers who she likes to submit to. And she just doesn't want to upset them.

Best of luck, and congrats on the new baby!