View Full Version : If your current agent passes...

11-01-2013, 04:59 PM
This might be an odd question, but here it goes!

I have an agent currently, she is shopping around my YA contemp. novel.
I sent her my newest book, another YA contemp. and she gave me a progress report today that sounds like she might not be loving it.

I'm only under contract with her for the book she's shopping around, then of course she has first refusal on other work.

So if she refuses the new book--then what?
Do I shelve it?
Do I seek out indie publishers?
Do I seek out another agent?

(My very first book is published by an indie publisher, so I could send it their way, but their marketing is nonexistent)

I'm confused on what the next step would be. Honestly this new book is much better than the book she's shopping around so I hate the idea of tossing it because she's not feeling it....

?????? thoughts?????

11-01-2013, 06:09 PM
It's up to you and your agent. If you have other projects that you're passionate about and that your agented is more interested in, you could shelf the book for now, but if you believe in this book and you want to give it a real shot, leaving your current agent and looking for a new one might be the best option. You could also try to sell it yourself, but your options would be limited, and you'd still have to discuss this with your agent.

It's a difficult position. You have to do what feels right for you.

Maybe she'll just have some revision notes, though.

11-01-2013, 07:06 PM
I would guess that you and the agent will want to have a nice chat about what she doesn't love and why. Maybe you'll agree with her. Maybe there are points that you haven't thought about. Maybe there's a book slated for release that's really similar and you don't know it. Maybe she has suggestions on how to make it better.

Maybe not. If you love it, and she doesn't, that's when you can start considering whether moving on and searching for a new agent would be a good move for you or whether there are other options available to you.

But for now, I'd say it's premature to think about until you can have that conversation with her.

11-01-2013, 07:20 PM
I don't give an agent that option. A publisher can reject one of my books, but not my agent. Her job is to find a publisher for what I write, not to pass judgment on my work.

11-01-2013, 09:17 PM
I would say IF the agent is in fact not interested, I would ask to make sure, "So am I free to shop it on my own?" type of thing. Once you get the green light, I would go ahead and shop that one to another agent. You can still have your agent for the one book (if you're happy with her that is.) But once she discards the novel, you're free to do whatever. And I would start by shopping around for another agent, then publisher and so on. And NO, I'm sorry. I wouldn't trunk it or anything like that. There's no reason for it. What's one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Who knows, you might find out (after she let's it go) you'll find another agent right away and sell that book sooner than the other. If that's the case and your next potential agent sells YAs too, it might be time to switch the other project over to them too. But if this happens, you'll need to terminate the contract with the first agent first before anything.

Siri Kirpal
11-01-2013, 11:35 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Does your agent have other agents in her agency? That may solve the problem right there.

Agree with wampuscat that you need to have a thorough conversation with her before deciding what to do.


Siri Kirpal

11-02-2013, 01:15 AM
Funny. This was in my twitter feed today:

What happens when your agent doesn't like your newest book:

11-02-2013, 01:19 AM
Okay, I'm just speaking from my experience and observations, but I think the idea of leaving your agent because she declines one of your manuscripts is rather short-sighted and premature. I trust my agent's judgment and career advice; otherwise, I wouldn't have signed with her as my agent. She wants me to succeed (and, sure, part of that motivation would likely be that she'd also benefit from my success).

I agree with wampuscat that your agent may have more information about the current industry (and possibly publisher wants and don't-wants) that could affect her view. So absolutely there needs to be a discussion about why. I talked with my agent about a story idea I had for a different genre, and she very gently pointed out that the premise was rather overdone lately. I consider that part of her job, and I value her input. So I moved on to a different manuscript.

And, again, just speaking for myself, I wouldn't "fire" an agent over one book. Now if you feel as though your agent isn't doing his/her best to sell your work or is somehow not serving your best interests, that's a different issue. But not thinking a specific manuscript is "sell-able" is reasonable for an agent who is looking at your work and your career in a broader field of books and publishers.

If your agent offers revisions, great.

If she gives you the go-ahead to go with an indie pub that ends up with minimal or lukewarm sales, is it worth the time and energy that could have gone into a different manuscript that your agent can champion?

If you feel like the two of you just don't see eye to eye, that's your prerogative, and you have to decide what you think is best for your career.

But if she doesn't agree to shop it around, I'd probably plan to shelve it for now and move on to a new story. Even if you believe in it. (I'm not saying agents are infallible, but this situation sort of raises the question...why you went with this agent in the first place if you don't trust that agent's perspective and industry knowledge?)

Good luck! I hope you get good news!

11-02-2013, 01:31 AM
Here's a guest post on Nathan Bransford's blog from a writer who had a similar experience to the one wampuscat posted: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/10/when-you-discover-your-agents-not-that.html

And here are some clear criteria from agent Jennifer Laughran to help writers decide: http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/03/when-your-agent-isnt-feeling-love.html

11-02-2013, 02:48 AM
I just have to ask, is this a common thing? I don't even have an agent yet but this is, like, my worst fear.

11-02-2013, 11:37 AM
Has there been any editing of this new book? What did the editor say?
What did the readers think? (you do have readers, right?)

Old Hack
11-02-2013, 12:55 PM
Most good agents represent an author, not a single book. You might be better off finding an agent who loves all your writing.

But until you know for certain what your agent thinks about this book, I think you should listen to wampuscat.

11-02-2013, 01:44 PM
I agree with wampus. Without knowing why your agent isn't loving the book, I wouldn't recommend shopping for a new agent.