View Full Version : Saying Goodbye

08-25-2007, 01:47 AM
What are the protocols for ending a relationship with an agent, if there are still manuscripts on submission with editors? My agency agreement says that either of us can end the relationship with 30 days notice, but it doesn't address outstanding manuscripts. Do I write the editors and let them know to contact me directly, while I search for new representation? And what if (heaven forbid) someone should want to make an offer during the 30 day period?

I'm going to give my agent a bit more time, but I just feel that he doesn't have the contacts and experience to make a sale--or (so far, after a bunch of months) to even get the editors to read my manuscript. So I'm about ready to move on.


08-25-2007, 05:02 PM
I'm no expert and likely you'll have an answer from someone with more experience, but it's my understanding that your current agent is the agent of record for any outstanding submissions if he's the one that sent them out, and if a sale is made from those submissions he will collect his percentage etc. as per the original agreement. After you've given him notice through registered mail and severed the relationship any new manuscripts would presumably go though a new agent, but I doubt a new agent would be able to represent your old manuscript unless and until all outstanding submissions from the old one had been answered. I think you're supposed to ask your current agent what, if any submissions are outstanding, tell him not to send any more, and try to get an answer on the outstanding ones when you inform him you've decided to end the relationship, before you send it anywhere else.

Good luck with it all.

08-25-2007, 05:06 PM
I have no advice at all, but please keep us posted. I've never had an agent. I've paid the scammers who want "office expenses" up front so they can pretend they mail your stuff out, but that's not the same thing. I'm going to learn from you, esteemed new member.

Best regards,

08-29-2007, 03:09 AM
Hmm, well, doesn't seem to be a lot of excitement about this question... :) maybe it's the August doldrums.

08-29-2007, 04:10 AM
Well, I think it depends on the agent. You have to decide, if someone called with an offer the next day, would you want to continue to work with this relationship? Or would you prefer it not happen at all?

If you wouldn't mind working with the agent, ask him/her to cancel your contract, but it's ok to leave outstanding submissions where they are (I assume you're not subbing them to anyone else?).

If you don't want to work with the agent at all, ask them to pull the manuscripts by a specific, reasonable deadline.

I honestly don't know how you would handle contacting the editor directly. Sorry. :)

08-29-2007, 04:21 AM
Read the contract. There should be something in it about earned percentages after termination.

I'm Puzzled about you wanting to end the relationship if "(heaven forbid) someone should want to make an offer during the 30 day period" In that case hasn't he redeemed himself?

Cancel now if you are certain you can get another agent. If he sells your work then cancel the cancel. You are free to place your next work with someone else, ether way.

08-30-2007, 09:32 PM
Well, it's complicated, as to why I want to end the relationship. I think it's highly unlikely that an offer will be made within the 30-day period, which is part of the problem, but not the entire problem. I just wondered if anyone knew the legalities and technicalities here. I guess it's not a very common issue.

I am not at all certain I can get a new agent, although when I was querying, I had several strong nibbles. But this was the only sure offer, so I went with it, although I had reservations, which have (so far anyway) been borne out. But now I have a second, unrelated book ready to query, so it seems like a good time to make a break and start over. As depressing as that seems.

Gah, this is difficult stuff! :)

08-30-2007, 10:16 PM
This is likely covered in your contract. In the contract with my (former) agent, any sales made on submissions made by the agency would get credited to the agent. I'm blurry on the details at this point, but if you terminate your relationship with your agent now, there remain threads that linger. At least until the publishers come back with a rejection.

09-02-2007, 01:45 AM
I was googling for info on a similar situation and came across this post. I'm new here. Hi!

I'm in a similar (and worse) situation. The day before I was going to send my agent a termination letter, she called to tell me my book has gone to the ed board at a major publishing house. My problems with her are not because she can't get me a sale. I've caught her in over a dozen flat out lies (all documented through email) and communication has been only when I initiated it (even 3 months went by before I heard from her!). Also, she's been snippy and rude to me on the phone and we just haven't gelled at all. She also tried to get me to write in a genre I'm not comfortable writing in. The list goes on and on.

I've spoken to previous clients of hers and they have all had similar issues which led to their axing her.

Obviously, the issue now is what to do if the book sells? We haven't heard the response from the ed board. The agent is optomistic.

I have a new, better novel, that I'd like to query with. I don't want to work with her anymore. I understand I may not find another agent, but right now, I feel no agent is better than continuing my business relationship with this agent.

I also know if the 1st book doesn't sell, it's probably dead. That's fine.

I realize she'll get the sale credit and her percentage and all that if this book sells, I'm not concerned about this stuff. I also have been in contact with the editor already, so I know I can work directly with her without needing the agent.

I guess I'm writing to say I'm right there with you. And also, is this a normal circumstance? Will it hurt me with future agents to have a sale that was once represented? Particularly a recent sale?

Very confused.

(and to be clear, I don['t think I'm the difficult one to work with. It's definitely her. She has a history of driving off clients).

Nathan Bransford
09-07-2007, 12:22 AM
Jessica Faust at Bookends has some really great advice on this subject.

First, on the matter of how to tell if you have a bad agent:

On the matter of a relationship starting to sour over time:

09-08-2007, 03:47 AM
Thanks Nathan! Those are good posts.