Kristin Nelson's blog post about changing agents prompted me to post what I ask people who are thinking of switching agents:
More than one was a bit taken aback by my point blank first question:
1. Have you terminated representation with your current agent?
If you have not, I will not talk to you. I've never done a survey of colleagues on this, but the bar chat is pretty much 100% in agreement.
Here's why: I never want a colleague or an author to think I poach or entice authors who are represented elsewhere. I don't want to second guess how another agent runs her business any more than I want someone second guessing mine.
My second question is:
2. Why are you leaving?
If the answer is something like "she sucks at this, that and this other too" and I know "this, that and the other too" is not one of my strengths, then the writer is better off looking for someone else. Better to send them on their way sooner rather than later.
3. What do you want to accomplish?
This is often the deal breaker. Changing agents is no guarantee of a revitalized career, an increase in sales, or a way to make you a more marketable writer. Agents are more interested in potential clients who are on their way UP the sales chart and who have a good career ahead of them.
I represent 41 clients right now. 7 have had other agents. Only two of those signed on within the last two years. What that means: if you're thinking of changing agents you might want to consider a bright eyed eager energetic newer agent who is actively looking for good clients.