View Full Version : Agent for Everything, or Only Selected Projects?

Deb Kinnard
08-01-2011, 03:46 AM
Here's the question: I have an agent with whom I'm very happy. However, she's just moved from one agency to another. As a whole, I'm very happy about this, also, as the new agency is much higher profile in my market and IMO is positioned to become a profitable relationship for us both.

However: I do business with an e-publisher with whom I was published prior to signing with my agent. The new agency doesn't care to work with this press (there are reasons, but I won't go into them). I have future projects that would've been a good fit for the e-press, but the agency doesn't feel they're a fit for the larger Christian market and declines to send them out.

Ergo, these books are effectively dead.

I feel in a quandary here. Is it not better to sell a book (even if it's to a small electronic house) than not to sell a book? If I pursue these projects with my e-publisher on my own, without my agency's involvement, am I in violation of my agency contract? Or does their refusal to shop the book mean I am free to do with it as I like?

Thoughts? Expert (agency or experienced e-author) opinions welcome and thank you fervently in advance.

08-01-2011, 05:04 AM
You could get an agent for those books.

08-01-2011, 05:29 AM
Whether or not you can send out those books depends on your agency agreement -- is it for all novel-length works, or per title? Either way, you should clarify with your agent.

It sounds as if your agent feels that the books/press runs counter to the brand of your Christian titles and might damage your sales and career growth. If you think it won't, your agreement doesn't preclude these sales, and your agent is OK with it, maybe you could sell these titles under a pseudonym. If you and your agent can't agree on these titles, then you might want to part with your agent and look for another.

Good luck.

08-01-2011, 08:20 AM
I side with Kellion. Your agency isn't a great agent for you if they're only focusing on one part of your writing life. The Christian fiction community is close-knit, and there's a real possibility your agent is trying to protect your sales there. If you're also writing books that might not fit that worldview, a carefully created pen-name might be the answer.

Talk to your new agency. See how they feel about you branching out with another agent, and possibly a pen-name.

08-01-2011, 08:22 AM
I have an agent for my books. Though he looks over my contracts for ebooks, isn't really involved with the ebooks (he doesn't look for e-publishers, negotiate, etc.) So you might be fine if you choose not to use an agent for the e-stuff.

08-01-2011, 09:58 AM
Your agency isn't a great agent for you if they're only focusing on one part of your writing life.

This isn't true at all. If an agent/agency wants to deal with only certain kinds of books, the writer is free to find another agent for other kinds of books the agent doesn't rep, or to submit the books on their own. All you have to do is have the agent let you know which manuscripts he or she isn't interested in, then proceed from there.

Many writers who work in multiple genres have multiple agents. No agent is experienced in every single genre; most agents specialise in only a relatively small set of genres, whereas writers might write in widely divergent areas. For example, someone who writes, say, epic fantasy and children's educational non-fiction might well have two agents, one for each.

08-02-2011, 12:23 AM
Look at the language of your agency contract and then talk to your agent. Even if they don't want to rep certain projects, I don't see why they'd object to you subbing them to the e-pubs on your own.

08-02-2011, 10:36 PM
I agree that you should have a more specific conversation regarding those projects. They might be ok with you submitting them to the e publisher you have a relationship with. They might not want to see you spending a lot of time developing your reputation in another genre/area of publishing and/or taking time away from projects that they are working on with you. Until you ask the specific question, "Would it be a problem if I submit these projects to e-pub myself?" you'll only be guessing at the why's and wherefore's about how to proceed (or not).

I have been in your situation before and have gotten the blessing from my agent when I wanted to submit a project that was outside his area of expertise/interest. My current agent was ok with me getting an agent to deal with this specific area, but not all agents would be happy with that because unless there's a clear delineation (children's agent/CBA adult projects agent). You don't want to run into trouble down the road about which project falls under which agent.

I know the principal of your new agency fairly well and he's committed to working within the publishing sector that he's most established in. I would imagine that would apply to the new agents too. He's built kind of a brand and I'd think that he'd want that to continue with the new agents. (That's speculation on my part, but would fit with conversations we've had.)

Deb Kinnard
08-03-2011, 03:06 AM
Thank you all for your input. I neglected to mention that all of the e-books I've published previously with the e-press, and the ones I'd like to publish with them going forward, are Christian fic in complete agreement with my current way of writing.

Obviously I have some thinking, and later talking, to do.

08-03-2011, 03:32 AM
The easy answer is to arrange a meeting to discuss these matters with your agent, get her ake on everything, and then decide wat to do. However, while your questions seem objective, I think they are very subjective. If you agree, take that into account. How "friendly" and communicative are with your agent? If you discuss these matters with your agent, would you in any way upset the applecart? Will you piss off the agent and/or new agency if part of your business is represented by someone else? And so on.

Deb Kinnard
08-03-2011, 05:03 AM
We're quite friendly, we've already had the part of this discussion where "these books aren't going anywhere" and I believe we can be upfront and businesslike with the rest of the conversation.

I don't need a second agent to deal with the e-press. All my other deals with them, I've made on my own, so nothing there would change, if we decide this can work going forward.

I do appreciate all the savvy input. It's tough for an optimist like me to see every bad outcome that might happen.