After a short query process, I was fortunate to sign with a new, young agent at an established literary agency. She and I worked out an explicit revision outline and timetable. I did my best to incorporate her suggestions; I turned in said revisions on deadline. I did three rewrites this way over the course of about a year. She was always effusive with praise and enthusiastic about my project. However, after reading the third revision (that I honestly thought was “the one”) she emailed me to say that her editorial vision was not guiding me effectively. She wished me well in finding a new agent for my next project and apologized for this “false start.” I was blindsided; I asked if she’d reconsider. She wished me good luck and godspeed.
So my question is threefold: Is my current project washed up? (It never went on submission.) If not, should I mention that I was previously represented in my queries to other agents? Do I have to wait to query until our contract is void (sixty days after written termination of the contract)?
Zoinks! Talk about blind-sided, dumb-founded, and caught flat footed. That sounds like a pretty wretched day for you. Ok...week.
This is very bizarre behaviour on the part of the agent. Normally, (and I've had to do this) when a project isn't working, the client or potential client knows it cause we've had several back and forths,
and it's gone on for a good long while. When "that call" comes, the most frequent reply from writers? "Yea, I saw this coming."
So if you DIDN'T see it coming, my guess is that it's not about the work. Two things to look at:
The only way I can see this happening in my office is if the client was giving off the beeping sound of impending doom. Were you too clingy? Did you call at weird times? Did you harass the agent about reply time (that more than anything else will sever a relationship with me) Did you get snotty with the office staff (that's a firing offense here)
So, was there anything else in play? I'm not asking you to fess up in the comments column or even in an email to me. Just look over your email communications and see if you had started giving off a crazy vibe. It's hard to recognize your own crazy, but give it a shot.
Be honest with yourself here. If this is what happened, you need to be recognize it and resolve to NOT DO IT again.
If you can't see anything amiss, well, this agent might be one of those that just went bonkers; I've seen it happen a lot recently and it's hell on all concerned.
But regardless of why, now you have to deal with the situation at hand.
In her termination letter to you (you have one, right? if not GET ONE) she'll say whether the 60 day period is being waived. If not, you should wait.
And you never have to mention this to anyone, ever again. And I suggest you don't. Your ms didn't go on submission, you have no ties to the agency that repped you, it's like an annulment not a divorce.
This is brutal, no matter the reason it happened. Give yourself some time to be angry, and vengeful and all those wonderful writing prompts before starting back on the query trail. The LAST thing you want is hot words of vengeance pouring out of your mouth when your next agent calls to discuss your work.