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View Full Version : How to fire an agent politely



Guinea
04-26-2013, 06:05 PM
Firstly, apologies if there is already a thread about this, but I couldn't find it, so please redirect me if this is the case.

Secondly, the question!

My agent has had my book on sub for almost a year now. Recently, I reread the book and I was horrified by the clunky writing. A fellow AW member read it and was kind enough to do a LBL where she cut 10K words from the MS, and it's a much tighter read for it. I told my agent the writing is being revamped, but he said he's exhausted his contact list and does not want to resub. In the meantime, I have written a second book, which is in a genre he does not rep. He's had the second book for almost two months now, and I've nudged him twice but each time he just says he'll read it soon, promise.

I feel like his interest is waning, and I don't blame him at all. I would like to part ways and ask him for the list of editors he's subbed to. How do I word a nice, polite break up e-mail, and is it okay to ask him for the list of editors in that same e-mail?

Torgo
04-26-2013, 06:16 PM
I'd write something like:

Dear Bill,

This is not an easy letter to write. I want to say how much I appreciate everything you've done for me over the last year or so, but I also need to tell you that I've made the decision to look elsewhere for representation. For whatever reason, we haven't had much success in selling NAME OF BOOK ONE GOES HERE; and I am not sure BOOK TWO is quite your cup of tea.

It would be tremendously useful to have a list of the editors you have already tried BOOK ONE with, as I could avoid bothering them with it again? If you could see your way to putting that together, I'd be much obliged. In the meantime, please let me restate that it has been a pleasure to work with you, and that I'm grateful for your attention and for all your work on my behalf.

Yours sincerely &c

Guinea

shroud
04-26-2013, 06:25 PM
I'd write something like:

Absolutely. The agent/author relationship is first and foremost a business relationship. Your interest is getting your work published, and if you're unhappy with the agent's efforts/results, it's time to move on. I can't imagine the agent being terribly upset, it's part of the game. After all, you probably had to jump through a few hoops to land said agent, correct?

Guinea
04-26-2013, 06:28 PM
I'd write something like:

Dear Bill,

This is not an easy letter to write. I want to say how much I appreciate everything you've done for me over the last year or so, but I also need to tell you that I've made the decision to look elsewhere for representation. For whatever reason, we haven't had much success in selling NAME OF BOOK ONE GOES HERE; and I am not sure BOOK TWO is quite your cup of tea.

It would be tremendously useful to have a list of the editors you have already tried BOOK ONE with, as I could avoid bothering them with it again? If you could see your way to putting that together, I'd be much obliged. In the meantime, please let me restate that it has been a pleasure to work with you, and that I'm grateful for your attention and for all your work on my behalf.

Yours sincerely &c

Guinea

Thanks Torga. Like the way you snuck in the request for the editors sent to. Crafty!

Pyekett
04-26-2013, 06:40 PM
Torgo does know a thing or two.

Jennifer_Laughran
04-26-2013, 06:46 PM
I'd write something like:

Dear Bill,

This is not an easy letter to write. I want to say how much I appreciate everything you've done for me over the last year or so, but I also need to tell you that I've made the decision to look elsewhere for representation. For whatever reason, we haven't had much success in selling NAME OF BOOK ONE GOES HERE; and I am not sure BOOK TWO is quite your cup of tea.

It would be tremendously useful to have a list of the editors you have already tried BOOK ONE with, as I could avoid bothering them with it again? If you could see your way to putting that together, I'd be much obliged. In the meantime, please let me restate that it has been a pleasure to work with you, and that I'm grateful for your attention and for all your work on my behalf.

Yours sincerely &c

Guinea

Fine, but I'd lose the waffley language. Then again, this is just MY style -- your mileage may vary! Really anything is fine as long as you are polite, concise and professional.

Dear Bill,

I so appreciate having had the chance to work with you over the last year or so, but I also need to tell you that my career is going in another direction, and I've made the decision to look elsewhere for representation. I understand that we've exhausted subs for BOOK ONE at this time, and BOOK TWO is not a genre you represent.

I'd be much obliged if you would send me the list of the editors you have already tried BOOK ONE with. In the meantime, please let me restate that it has been a pleasure to work with you, and that I'm grateful for all your hard work on my behalf.

Yours sincerely &c

Guinea

Torgo
04-26-2013, 06:49 PM
Fine, but I'd lose the waffley language.

Waffley language is what I do, Madam. Good day to you! *turns on heel, strides away, trips, knocks out teeth on kerb*

Medievalist
04-26-2013, 06:55 PM
Fine, but I'd lose the waffley language. Then again, this is just MY style -- your mileage may vary!

This is the continental divide between British English and 'merican.


Waffley language is what I do, Madam. Good day to you! *turns on heel, strides away, trips, knocks out teeth on kerb*

Yeah, we don't have those kerb things. We have curbs.

Jennifer_Laughran
04-26-2013, 06:56 PM
Waffley language is what I do, Madam. Good day to you! *turns on heel, strides away, trips, knocks out teeth on kerb*

Hahaha well. I mean yours is MORE POLITE. *pets torgo awkwardly and calls dentist*

Guinea
04-26-2013, 06:58 PM
Fine, but I'd lose the waffley language. Then again, this is just MY style -- your mileage may vary! Really anything is fine as long as you are polite, concise and professional.

Dear Bill,

I so appreciate having had the chance to work with you over the last year or so, but I also need to tell you that my career is going in another direction, and I've made the decision to look elsewhere for representation. I understand that we've exhausted subs for BOOK ONE at this time, and BOOK TWO is not a genre you represent.

I'd be much obliged if you would send me the list of the editors you have already tried BOOK ONE with. In the meantime, please let me restate that it has been a pleasure to work with you, and that I'm grateful for all your hard work on my behalf.

Yours sincerely &c

Guinea

Thanks Jennifer. This is great and far more concise than I would have pieced together without coming across as arse-licking. I think this is almost harder than writing a query!

Drachen Jager
04-26-2013, 08:55 PM
Just to add, if the agent is AAR they are obliged to give you a list of publisher responses and publisher submissions. That's part of the code of conduct agents must abide by. Ask politely at first, but if they're very slow or hold out, be persistent, that information is rightfully yours.

Phaeal
04-26-2013, 09:46 PM
Just to add, if the agent is AAR they are obliged to give you a list of publisher responses and publisher submissions. That's part of the code of conduct agents must abide by. Ask politely at first, but if they're very slow or hold out, be persistent, that information is rightfully yours.

You absolutely need this list. You or a new agent may be resubbing the first book, and you want to avoid a duplicate submission. Also, without particulars, how do you know Agent One ever sent anything out?

The one thing I asked my agent to do (he was going to do it, anyway) was to send me copies of all correspondence concerning submissions, including editor responses. I've heard some writers don't want to hear anything until the work is accepted. Not me. Ignorance of what was going forward would drive me nuts, and it's not good business practice.

I don't know if this is what happened in your case -- I hope not -- but an agent who either refused to keep me in the loop or who neglected to do so? That's an agent I wouldn't trust.

Guinea
04-26-2013, 10:27 PM
Drachen - Thanks for the info. Didn't know it was part of the AAR CoC to reveal publishers sent to.

Phaeal - My agent has been sending me what editors have been saying, so that's not an issue, but it was only for the ones who actually had anything to say, so not worried on that front. I do still want a comprehensive list of all the eds he subbed to as there may have been ones that never responded at all.

Drachen Jager
04-27-2013, 12:35 AM
For reference, the AAR Canon of Ethics can be found here.

http://aaronline.org/canon

Rule 4: "A member shall keep each client apprised of matters entrusted to the member and shall promptly furnish such information as the client may reasonably request."

blacbird
04-27-2013, 10:01 AM
Dear (XXX):

May your crops wither, your spouse and children leave you, your dog run away, and your cat piss all over your favorite chair, and all the food in your refrigerator spoil, you imbecilic son-of-a-bitch.

Thank you.

Respectfully,

ZZZ

caw

Donna Pudick
05-10-2013, 12:20 AM
I'd think by now that your agent would be hinting about severing your relationship, at least for the titles he's repping. Most agent/author agreements have an escape clause in them, giving both a graceful way to opt out. Check your agreement. I like the letter.

Susan Littlefield
05-10-2013, 05:37 AM
Dear (XXX):

May your crops wither, your spouse and children leave you, your dog run away, and your cat piss all over your favorite chair, and all the food in your refrigerator spoil, you imbecilic son-of-a-bitch.

Thank you.

Respectfully,

ZZZ

caw

Oh my, so naughty! :roll:

BenPanced
05-10-2013, 08:26 AM
Dear Agent:

I HATE YOU! YOU'RE DUMB! AND...YOU'RE STUPID! AND YOU'RE DUMB AND STUPID! AND I HATE YOU! AND YOU'RE UGLY AND YOUR MOMMA DRESSES YOU FUNNY! AND YOU'RE STUPID AND DUMB! AND I HATE YOU! AND YOU'RE FIRED!

But I hope this doesn't mean we can't still be friends and I'm still invited to that wicked Christmas party you're having.

:heart:

Donna Pudick
06-22-2013, 04:24 PM
It's no big deal to keep a list of submissions, and we automatically blind cc. everything that goes out, comes in, or is rejected to the author. The business office keeps the entire file in excel and the electronic folders with the emails are at hand any time a client wants info. Hard copy subs, rejections or contracts are scanned and put in the folders as well. All emails on every book are kept in the editorial computer until the book is either released or dropped by us. A hard copy of the entire file is then mailed to the author on request or emailed if they have excel.