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writera
09-07-2018, 10:34 PM
I parted ways with my agent a couple of years ago. I later found out some of the places they had claimed they had submitted the manuscript to never received it and a few editors asked me to resubmit the MS. One of them now is quite excited by it. If an offer comes through, and the publisher wants me to work with an agent, then I will probably approach new agents to see if they are interested. But what happens with my previous agent? The agreement I signed says I will have to contact them to negotiate a commission to any publisher they submitted the work to, and they told me as much themselves. However, there's a few points...

1. The publisher who is now interested has a new editorial director, to whom I submitted the manuscript exclusively, the previous editor having left the company. I have no idea if my former agent sent the manuscript to that previous editor, though others in the same submission claimed they never received it. So technically my former agent may not have submitted to this company, though I won't be able to prove that.

2. I read there's usually a cap of 6 months to 12 months on this commissions maximum. My agreement indicates no such cap and seems to imply it's indefinite. It's been over 12 months.

3. The manuscript has been heavily rewritten and retitled since being submitted.

4. I am based in the UK, my former agent is in NYC, so not sure how that would work legally.

So, based on all of this, my question is, will I have to pay my former agent a commission or not? And if so, how big a percentage? Someone suggested I contact the agent and see if they will waive the commission, but I don't see them doing that. Someone else said to take the offer, say nothing, and wait to see what happens, but I'm not sure what I would do if this agent came looking for a commission. Any advice here would be appreciated. It's not that I'd be against paying a commission of some sorts but given a lot of the shoddy work and ethics this agent engaged in, I don't think they're entitled to one. But I'm not sure where I stand on that.

(Oh and not to make things more confusing, but if this publisher doesn't work out, it's also with two other agents who've asked for an R and R, which I'm still debating, as waiting to see if the current publisher wants it first. But the same problem will arise even if I do another revision, sign with a new agent, and they submit it to a publisher who wants it that my former agent had already submitted to.)

veinglory
09-07-2018, 10:35 PM
This seems like a legal question determined by exactly what it said in your contract?

writera
09-07-2018, 10:40 PM
It says a commission of not less than 5 percent will need to be negotiated if it's submitted to a publisher who the agent previously submitted any version to. However, based on the above points, especially the fact that I don't think they submitted it properly if at all, and the fact that no cap is mentioned, I'm wondering if there's wiggle room, or basically what to do.

lizmonster
09-07-2018, 11:09 PM
It says a commission of not less than 5 percent will need to be negotiated if it's submitted to a publisher who the agent previously submitted any version to. However, based on the above points, especially the fact that I don't think they submitted it properly if at all, and the fact that no cap is mentioned, I'm wondering if there's wiggle room, or basically what to do.

Consult a lawyer. Follow that lawyer's advice. Don't listen to a pack of well-intentioned randos on the internet. :)

Maryn
09-07-2018, 11:48 PM
Yes, this is a legal matter. We cannot give legal advice here, since it puts the site owner at risk, so I've asked this board's moderator to lock this thread. Sorry, writera, but our best guesses are worthless.

Old Hack
09-08-2018, 12:01 AM
Echoing what everyone else has already said: you need proper legal advice, and we can't provide that here.