View Full Version : Should I change my agent?

02-13-2007, 01:41 PM
Hi, need help with a dilemma.

I wrote a non-fiction book and found an agent willing to represent me. Now she is a great agent. She found me a publisher, got me a good advance, and worked with me throughout the process, and negotiated everything for me. To top it all, she is a really nice person who I like and respect.

The problem is that I live in a smallish european country. I knew I needed a local agent and publisher for my book because it would only be of interest to people in my country, so i sought the best agent in my country. Now I'm working on my novel, which is fiction, and more mainstream, which I hope will appeal to a wider audience.

This is where the problem arises. My agent only knows 3-4 big publishers (that's all there are in this country. WIth only a couple of them being international chains). Now I want my novel to be published with the best possible publisher, and get the best possible advance for it with the best possible marketing and all the other benefits that go with having a good publisher. I was wondering if I manage to get myself a good UK agent then I have a better chance of achieving all of the above.

I also want to be fair to my agent. Should I bother wasting her time, in that IF she accepts or wants to represent me that I then tell her, unless it's one of the few big ones she knows I don't want to go with a small local press till i've exhausted all the other ones? Also a Uk agent means more potential for a "bidding" war?

All this assuming my manuscript is publishable and people actually want it.

So what should I do?
Am I being too presumptious and jumping the gun?
Should I try to find another agent in the UK first before I ask her if she would be interested?
Am I being selfish and a back stabber?

Also she kinda knows about my WIP, so if I chose to try out for other agents first how do I tell her this or not, without being dishonest?

This dilemma arose because of a Mantra I read here, 'to start at the top and work your way down.' As such I want to start by having my novel represented to the biggest publishers within practical reach.

Need advice please!

I hope she doesn't read this forums, if you do then I appologise, just trying to find out as much information as I can.

Little Red Barn
02-13-2007, 05:16 PM
Klazart, sometimes we have to start at the bottom to get to the top---
I do not know anything about overseas' agents, but I am thinking you are very lucky to be agented. Period.

Do you have a positive working relationship with your agent? Has sh/he followed through for you?

Sit down and write out all your pros & cons...
ETA: Diamond in the rough...?

hugs kimmi

02-13-2007, 05:40 PM
Does your agent even represent novels? If so, ask if she works with anyone overseas...some do...?

02-13-2007, 06:28 PM
I think the first thing you should do is discuss this with your agent, find out what contacts she has in the UK or US. Does she have subsidiary agents in the UK or US? If she advises you that she can't help you with your fiction then at least you have not soured your relationship her.

02-13-2007, 07:27 PM
Most books sell in their own domestic markets first, and only then sell overseas (if they sell overseas. Many never do). Agents use their own contacts to sell in their home countries. To sell in other countries, they work with co-agents located in those countries. Assuming your agent reps fiction, has she sold overseas rights for any of her clients? If so, she may have the necessary contacts.

Another consideration--I'm doing a survey of UK agents on a different topic, and one of them mentioned, as an aside, how frustrated he is by the overseas writers who query his agency without bothering to assess whether their books are suitable for the UK market. Obviously if you're doing fantasy or science fiction or a historical epic set in ancient Greece, those considerations aren't as urgent--but if you've written a contemporary work with a non-UK setting, it may not be something that UK publishers would want.

Do some research to see if there are books currently on the UK market with similar themes and settings (if there are some, you may also be able to identify their agents). Make sure your book really is suitable for the market you choose to approach, before you approach it.

- Victoria

02-13-2007, 07:48 PM
the book is set in the UK so i think it would be ideal for a UK market. Also I have family living there so I wouldn't be submitting as an "overseas author"

My agent does represent fiction had has several published authors in fiction as her credit. I suppose discussing things with her would probably a good idea to start.

02-13-2007, 08:01 PM
I'd be very cautious giving up on a good agent, even if she may have her limits. It could be that she's looking for the opportunity to expand her own international presence and the two of you could work together to grow in this area.

Best of luck.

02-13-2007, 08:14 PM
thanks for all the advice thus far. I think i'm going to stick with her for now, cause she is really pretty great. That is if she's interested in representing my work when it's done :)