Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Agents changing area of focus


Two friends of mine were represented by Successful Literary Agent (SLA). Friend 1 writes dark fiction for a specific age group. Friend 2 was writes lighter fare for a different age group. Both were thrilled to sign with SLA and have their manuscripts on submission with several houses.

Then ... SLA changed agencies and told Friend 1 that SLA would not be taking Friend 1 as a client to the New Agency.

SLA said s/he was narrowing his/her focus to two of the other age ranges s/he represented and thus would no longer be representing the age range of Friend 1's project. SLA stated s/he would follow up with the remaining editors who had Friend 1's project, and if one of them were interested, SLA would relinquish his/her commission and Friend 1 would then be free to query other agents with that offer in hand.

Upon hearing this I immediately thought of Friend 2 who had signed with SLA just a few months prior to this. Since Friend 2 wrote in one of the two age ranges that SLA told Friend 1 s/he wanted to focus on, I was hopeful Friend 2 might still be represented by SLA.

Alas, no. Friend 2 was also on submission at the time of the announcement, and also not retained as a client.

By contrast, the agent of another writer acquaintance of mine recently switched agencies and this writer remains a client of said agent.
My question: what typically happens when an agent changes agencies? I was under the impression that most clients follow the agent to the new agency. Of course now I know to add this to the list of questions to ask a prospective agent, but I (and my Friends) would love to know if what happened to them is typical practice.


It's not a typical practice with the agents I know. And I'm very puzzled by this, in fact.

When I sign a client, I love love love their book. And generally I like the client too (please do not mention this to any of my clients of course, I don't want them knowing THAT!)

If I were to change agencies, I'd be hauling all of them along with me.

Several agents I've worked with have changed agencies. In each case they took all their clients with them, unless the client chose to stay behind.

This makes me think the agent is using this move as an excuse to pare away projects and/or clients she can't sell (or doesn't think she can sell.)

Which makes me ask of course: why did s/he sign them in the first place?
You really really really want an agent who's in this with you for the long haul.

I have nothing against young agents. I think a lot of them are incredibly bright and very good at their jobs,  but this can be a problem with people just starting out. They are learning the hard way about what sells, what doesn't, and the uphill battle to build a commission based income.


You're quite right that this is something you want to talk about before you sign with someone, and it should be something you think about if you're signing with a new or junior agent.

There are some previous posts on labelled "changing agents" that have some specific guidelines about what to do when this happens.











59 comments:

nightsmusic said...

This is something I'd not considered but I wonder too if this agent is just trying to divest themselves of projects they find too difficult to deal with. I think as a writer who has agonized over getting an agent and one's book out there, it would be devastating to be told, hey, I'm moving, I don't want you anymore. Granted, it wasn't expressed that way, but it still ends up sounding like that. And I think I'd be angry too if it happened to me because unless another in the agency loved my book and wanted to rep it, I'd be starting again from square one.

AJ Blythe said...

Gosh, another scenario I've never thought of (and now won't be able to forget).

Two questions... How do you raise the question? Does the agent's answer mean all that much at that point?

After all, if you've been offered representation than at that moment the agent believes they can sell your work. Some time later said agent changes agencies and now realises maybe it's too hard a sell. So for all the positive talk you might have got at sign-on-the-dotted-line time you're left on the sinking ship.

Sam Hawke said...

I have seen far too many stories like this floating around lately, of clients being dropped by agents for reasons that are unexpected, to say the least. It never occurred to me that on getting an agent she might drop me unless there was some kind of long term unresolvable issue. Failing to sell one book? Isn't that something we should all expect could happen? Sigh.

You hear over and over about how agents will only take on projects they love - and that makes sense! So it's disconcerting to see these kinds of stories happening with some frequency.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

After devoting a significant chunk of my life, giving life, to a project, after investing in the emotionally difficult search for an agent, after the very real let down of being let go, I'd be heartbroken.
Like nightsmusic, to be back at square one, damn, I'd be devastated first and then really, really pissed off.
I might even write one of those, "you're going to sorreeee letters," from yesterday. It would be a good one. Then I'd throw it away and call my therapist.
Wait a minute I don't have a therapist. But I do have a spoon and a half gallon of Rocky Road.

Brigid said...

Wait, but if those editors passed on it would this project then be dead in the water? The way that it would with an agent who only queried 10 editors and said sayonara?

Jason Magnason said...

Okay I am just about ready to start the process of Querying. I have been to the QueryShark and my query sucked, which is why it got posted. With a little help from Janet, its gotten a whole lot better.

If I query an agent, and I get a request for a full, and I get signed, then can I expect that they are prepared for the hard questions?

Will an agent be upset if I ask, "So if you move to a new agency, are you going to take me with you? Are you in this for the long haul? Are you going to shop this book till the heels on you shoes break?"

Is it wrong to ask those questions?

I really need confidence going into this next stage of my writing journey. The beta readers I have read Epic Fantasy and they loved my book, and keep asking me when the next one will be ready to read. I don't want to take a chance that this book takes off, but only after a very hard road of selling failures, just to have my agent quit before the one publishing company who would have bought it, never got to hear about it cause 'said' agent gave up.

What should I expect?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

S.D.King said...

I often wondered if enthusiastic new agents, who perhaps had not developed "the eye", might take on a bunch of authors whose manuscripts were not ready for prime time.

The established agents are so hard to attain, that new agents are attractive for querying.

jojoroony said...

Jason - I'm going to take a stab and say those questions (well, the first one at least) are probably okay. They show the agent that you're thinking ahead about possible issues and not throwing yourself desperately into a contract.

That said, you should stay away from any questions that verge on "What can you do for ME" territory. They're an agent. You're a writer. It's pretty clear what they can do for you. (And of course, we know how QOTKU hates questions like that.)

Also make sure you actually have an offer of representation before you ask the hard-hitting business practice questions, but don't wait until you get signed. By then you're already in business with them, and yes, you can terminate, but that's a hassle.

Colin Smith said...

Like everyone above--and I'm referring to the commenters, not the angelic host, though these guys are pretty awesome--I would be very disappointed if an agent did this to me. If an agent says they want to represent me, I assume they know the genre, and have a battle plan for edits and submissions. I don't expect them to bail because they decide to concentrate on a different genre. Did they suddenly forget how to rep my genre?

Jason: Here's an article Janet wrote some years ago on questions to ask an agent. I think her answers still apply:

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2009/09/next-set-of-questions-to-ask.html

My understanding is, if an agent is calling you to offer representation, you are not obliged to say "yes," especially not immediately. Be sure. Ask questions. An agent that's offended because you want to count the cost before you sign on the dotted line might not be the best agent for you.

nightsmusic said...

2Ns, I can't tell you the number of times I've written a response to someone somewhere or written a letter to a company or what have you, and ended up deleting it and going after the ice cream instead. Or the Macallan. It just feels good to at least get it out of my system, you know?

I thought about the OPies post and again, I have to say, the more I think about it, the angrier I get. Did this agent not really love my story to start with? Was this agent new and found the genre he/she thought they wanted to be in was too difficult for them to maneuver? To sell in? So they just abandon those clients they deluded into thinking, Oh, this agent loves my book. They're going to work for me! only to find the agent got in over their head?

This whole scenario sucks and it sucks even worse to know it's something that could easily happen.

Colin Smith said...

To jojoroony's point, here's a list of questions you SHOULDN'T ask:

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2016/02/some-questions-you-shouldnt-ask.html

And here's a list of questions an agent might ask before signing:

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2016/02/questions-agent-asks-before-signing.html

If anyone stumbles upon similar lists in the archive, please post them. I'll gladly compile them into a pdf or something for the Treasure Chest. "Questions to Ask Agents." That would be useful.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Another question to ask on the call. Jason, sometime ago Janet did a post on questions to ask when you get to "the call". It is very good and I feel certain Colin or other designated minion could dig up that link if we asked nicely.

Somewhat related, I have just finished (mostly) a revision which I will be sending for 1 outstanding full, 1 revision request, and a very special partial request. There is also an agent I worked with a couple of years back. I withdrew my submission because the book was not nearly as polished as I thought. This agent said to please send it to her should I revise it. However, she is very specialized at her agency in non-fiction now. I followed up with her and she said she would still like to see my book. I write fantasy. I also think in my insecure woodland creature way that this particular agent is just being kind because she is with same agency as my cousin.

Is there a disadvantage to being the only author in a genre in an agent's wheel house? Or am I better off with someone who has dozens of hardcore fantasy writers?

I will be sending another dozen query letters so I have no delusions that any of these requests will necessarily turn to offers, but I don't want to burn any bridges or miss any potential opportunities.

Dena Pawling said...


Does SLA work for an agency? Do none of the other agents at that agency want Friends?

I do know of a specific instance where Agent1 determined she wasn't the best agent for Client and helped Client sign with Agent2 who was not with Agent1's agency. When I read about this, it gave me warm fuzzies that Agent1 cared enough about Client to help her sign with Agent2. But how common is this?

And, in this instance with Friends, are those manuscripts dead and really couldn't be queried again? Should Friends withdraw their submissions NOW so they're not dead for next Agent?

Was SLA really TOO successful, and signed too many clients and now wants to pare down his/her list?

Too many questions. I will wish Friends much success. That's a scary and anxious place to be.

Colin Smith said...

E.M.: Scroll up, about 15 mins before your comment. I anticipated your request. ;)

Lucie Witt said...

Any Reiders in Brussels? Everybody okay?

The reality of getting, then losing, and agent in such a manner is depressing.

News is depressing.

I'll be over here drinking bourbon and watching cute animal videos if anyone wants to join me.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin- you are a wonder. You must have read my mind while I was composing my comment. Amazing and scary. Perhaps, a side effect from my recent exile in Carkoon?

And prayers to those in Brussels and Europe. Let us hear from any of the Reiders in that part of the world. Stay safe. Pray for peace, hope, faith, and love to win over the hatred, anger, despair, and division plaguing our world this Holy Week.

nightsmusic said...

Lucie, I'm with you today:

Bald Eagle Cam

And my reCaptcha image was cookies! Good day :)

Colin Smith said...

E.M.: It's a Jedi thing. It comes with being nearly as old as Yoda. ;)

DLM said...

nightsmusic, a lovely antidote; thank you. And Colin, thank you for your assiduousness. With your assists, posts like this become even more bookmarkable, collecting pertinent Janet wisdom conveniently.

For those community members of faith, may I ask a prayer for my mom? Just because.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

DLM, I'm praying for your mom today. It has been a hard week all around, I know.

I wonder what the SLA said to Friend 2. Did SLA give the same reason, or a different one? That could help to illuminate the situation. It's strange, either way.

To any who need extra fuzzies today, go on youtube and search 'baby goats in pajamas.' You will not be disappointed.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Praying for Diane's mom.

And googling baby goats in pajamas.

Rough week, indeed

nightsmusic said...

DLM, I am an absolute believer in prayer, you and your mom have mine.

Craig said...

Literary Agents Gone Wild.

Seriously, agents are only human and have just as many quirks and foibles as us who fashion ourselves as writers. Sometimes the world gets too scary for everyone and some have to drop out or cut back.

It is a shame that when an agent stumbles it looks like they stomp the life out of some writer. If a manuscript or writing style is good enough for one agent you can find another that should work out better. Don't lose heart in either your writing or in humans you put your hopes in. Things do often get better in the long run.

Brigid said...

Of course, Diane.

Bethany: I needed that!

BunnyBear said...

What is the standard contract language concerning who the Writer is signing with - the Agency or the Agent? I would think that would enter in when the Agent decides to dump the Writer for said reasons.

Brian Schwarz said...

DLM, I'm praying for you as well.

Dena, from what I've learned (and the great shark strike me down if I speak incorrectly) once a book has been submitted to even a single editor, it's basically dead in the water. No agent is going to want to take it on, in large part because there's no way to know for certain who had been pitched and who hadn't been pitched.

As for Brussels, our friend is out there but thankfully the Facebook feature that allows people in crisis areas to check in as safe made it easy to find out she was okay without reaching out. I'm sure she has enough on her mind as is.

As for the OP, we've discussed this a number of times (see Colin's links above) around the reef, but I'm struggling with this concept. I realize everyone has a built-in nose for BS, but perhaps your meter isn't working as well as you like because, say, an exciting life event (getting an offer) has turned your hypothalamus into pudding. So aside from asking some brazen question that might rub an agent the wrong way, what the heck to do you say instead of "At what point is it okay to leave an author and their work behind?" I mean, I'd like to ask "Are you an asshat? Do you generally view writers as human beings -- or are they more like giant walking dollar signs, at least until you've made 5 unsuccessful submissions to editors?"

DLM said...

Thank you all so much. It's not me, I'm just feeling for my mom. She has a lot on her plate, and it's all hard. My mom's pretty great, and needs support.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Lucie Witt, I checked our Reider Map. No one pinned in Belgium. Certainly doesn't mean none of us are there. Actually, are any of us safe wherever we are?
Am turning off CNN and taking our mini hotdog for a walk. He's a dog on loan from my daughter. Actually she asked if we could take care of him until they built a fence at their new house. That was two years ago. Love the little guy, he's a great distraction.

Jennifer S. Brown said...

I think you can get a good sense of an agent when you talk to him or her initially, and it seems like a bizarre question to ask "Will you take me with you if you leave?" It implies you don't trust him/her to be stable, no?

My agent did switch agencies on me. And she very quickly sent me forms to dissolve my relationship to the old agency and to re-sign with her at the new agency. I think that's pretty standard.

Celia Reaves said...

Sending prayers for peace and health to DLM's mom and everyone in Brussels. Also sending them to all the other Reiders. At any moment boosts might be needed more in some places than in others, but sooner or later we all need them. If you need a boost right now, consider yourself boosted.

The world is a very disconcerting place. We are all rightly up in arms about the actions of the agent in the original post, and then someone blows up Brussels. It realigns our notion of evil.

JulieWeathers said...

Janet,

"And generally I like the client too (please do not mention this to any of my clients of course, I don't want them knowing THAT!)"

Unfortunately, the word is already out. I happen to know you even like your clients you haven't signed yet. Criminy, you probably like the clients you haven't met yet. There must be something in the water besides leftover Leprechaun pee.

Jason,

"The beta readers I have read Epic Fantasy and they loved my book, and keep asking me when the next one will be ready to read."

Dear, God. Please don't write the second in the series. I got a ton of requests for Far Rider. Many agents loved the writing, but passed. I have a list of agents who asked me to remember them for my next work.

The last agent, a well-known NY agent, no, not the shark, sent me back a fairly detailed rejection. I have ten pounds of story in a five-pound bag. I need to expand the magic system, some of the story arcs, the world. That's going to about double an already long book and he thinks it has a distinct YA feel anyway.

Fortunately, I only had about 30,000 words into the second book. I was just writing scenes as they came to me and not really trying to work on it as I had already moved on to another book.

So, when/if I go back to FR, I will have to write a new book with the story I've already started. Even if an agent loves your book, the chances are something will change. When those things change, the second book will be altered or won't fit at all.

Work on something else.

It would be too depressing for words to have an agent you loved (and what other kind would you have pray tell) and have them leave you behind when they move. I would feel like an old dog wagging my tail slowly as I sat on the steps of a vacant house and watched my family drive away in a U-Haul.

Then I'd pick up my ball and go find a new family.


JulieWeathers said...

Diane,

I will certainly pray for your mother. I already have for both of you.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

I think we all need ducks today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlyEpwZMjPc

JulieWeathers said...

Ah, Brussels. Dear heavens. Prayers for her also.

BJ Muntain said...

I suppose this proves that everyone is different, and there are saints and jerks in every walk of life.

A friend of mine 'parted ways' with her agent. The agent was new, and realized she didn't know how to sell my friend's category. My friend was fine with that part of it. She's not as pleased with the contract the agent negotiated. (I haven't seen the contract. My friend went over it with another writer friend, and didn't like what she saw. I told her to talk to an industry lawyer, but who listens to me?)

I used to think that if a new agent was with a good, established agency, that they'd get a lot of good advice. This agent's agency is known to be a good agency. But then, I don't know a lawyer's view of the contract yet, so it's hard to say. But it does make one less eager to try the new agents.

2Ns - Now I'm going to go buy a silver spoon and have engraved on it "Therapist".

Recently, I've found myself deleting a number of comments I've left on Facebook. When did I get to be so ranty?

Colin: That's a terrific idea! 'Questions to ask agents' would be very useful.

EM: Send it to the agent, even if she's mostly doing non-fiction. If she still understands the business of fantasy, she can still be helpful. And you won't get the response, "This is too much like another client's work". :) If she decides not to take on your novel, it's just another rejection. If she offers to rep, though, make sure you ask the questions brought up here.

Prayers out for DLM's mom, and for other Reiders and their families struggling today.

Colin Smith said...

Diane: The Lord knows the need. I'll be praying for you both.

We live in interesting times, that's for sure.

Here's Julie's link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlyEpwZMjPc

And if you need another visual pick-me-up, there are pictures of the apple tart and custard my FirstBorn made for me last night on my blog. :)

Steph said...

DLM, praying for your Mom.

Julie, I love the duck!

Colin, not sure that apple tart counts as a pick-me-up picture, mostly it made me want to go buy some more apples...

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

BJ Muntain, hey therapists spoons. What a great idea. We could make a million bucks in no time. I'll run the therapist spoon booth at the end of the bar during the next writer's conference.

John Frain said...

In between Tuesday meetings, but it dawns on me ... I guess literary agents never ever have a no-compete clause in their contract. I've worked in some industries where that's a standard practice for six months up to two years. You could leave the company, but you couldn't contact your clients until the no-compete timeframe ended.

For a literary agent, sounds like no-competes don't exist and even further -- sounds like they can bring their clients along with them to a new agency almost whenever they want.

Which makes me wonder (though I haven't thought through any of this): with the rise of back lists available these days (I hope I'm calling that by the right name), will we see agencies plucking good literary agents as if they're unrestricted free agents.

"We'll give you a signing bonus if you come over to XYZ Literary and bring all your existing clients in the door with their catalog of titles."

E.Maree said...

@Colin, some more links for your collection: Victoria Strauss's fantastic round-up of posts on the topic, including some very excellent blogs by others.

Colin Smith said...

John (and Janet?): That makes sense to me if it's true that an agent's client list is part of what makes that agent attractive to an agency. That, and his/her sparkling personality, wit, charm, contacts, and high alcohol toxicity threshold. Is this true, Janet?

Colin Smith said...

Emma: Thanks! :)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Prayers for Diane's Mom and for Brussels.

And Colin, I like that idea. I think (I read the first comments in a hurry this morning. Hopefully my memory still works properly.) you wrote of creating a treasure chest filled with links which would focus on Janet's wisdom of how to handle The Call?

Jason Magnason said...

JulieWeathers: A friend of mine, who I have done some work for, from Colorado (Kevin Hearne NYT BSA of the Iron Druid Chronicles) some of you may know him. Kevin told me that I should start my second book while I am querying agents.

He also said that I should not muddy the waters with a bad query. He said send it to about four agents, if you don't get a response you know its your query. If you get requests for pages and get no response, you know its the writing. Either way you know what needs fixing.

Janet, what's your take on that advice?

JulieWeathers said...

I've been led to Deuteronomy three times today, so I believe this message is for someone, Possibly Diane and E.M since I was thinking about you two when I opened an inspiration email I receive and here this was again. Maybe it's for all of us who believe today.

"BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE,
DO NOT FEAR NOR BE AFRAID OF THEM; FOR THE LORD
YOUR GOD, HE IS THE ONE WHO GOES WITH YOU. HE
WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU."
( DEUTERONOMY 31:6 )

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Thank you, Julie. That's beautiful.

Megan V said...

Gah! I'm gone for a few days and there's so much wonderful advice to catch up on.

I'm surprised at SLA's decision in this instance. If SLA signed her clients for the long haul, as opposed to signing them for a one time representation, then her position doesn't make much sense. Even if SLA couldn't sell her client's current manuscripts, why toss her current clients, especially a client who writes in the genre they claim to be focusing on like Friend 2, aside.

If it's the current project, why not just say, 'hey, this isn't selling, what else are you working on?'
If it's the client, why did SLA sign that writer?

Unless there are personal and professional issues between SLA and that writer that can't be resolved, I have a hard time understanding why SLA would divest herself of a client she pledged to work with for the long haul simply because she is switching agencies.

There has to be more at play here. Perhaps SLA took on more clients than she could chew?

All this to say...I don't like this situation. I don't like it at all.

Diane, thoughts and prayers for your mother.

E.M. I'm sorry for the loss of your aunt.

And QOTKU, if you really want some unicycling pictures...I'll try not to break the camera.

JulieWeathers said...

Jason,

I hate to disagree with your friend, but the only thing you know from no responses on four queries is you know how to hit send.

Agents reject for myriad reasons. Maybe it's the query, but it might be the writing, or they might be jam packed busy, or shopping a similar project, or they hate dragons, or they might think Nylaathria'qin is a stupid name for a main character, or this is the sixth query they've seen today where alien Norse Gods invade an elf kingdom and the pixies refuse to ally with the elves. Danged Pixie Chicks peaceniks.

No one can read the mind of an agent, and thank God for that. That way lies madness.

If you feel confident your book will sell, and what writer doesn't, proceed on with courage. I have three novels on the shelves, in the can, or wherever they have crawled off to, plus the the children's books. I've always worked on more than one project at a time. If I stall out on one thing, I work on the other until the boys in the back work out the plot knot. I don't consciously work on the second book in the series.

"No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful." Ernest Hemingway A Farewell To Arms

Maybe I have grown careful.

Jason Vierra said...

Jules:
Totaly understand. The universe it a complex place where decisions and indecision's seem to be a playful matter that is forever pliable. However, I believe in enticement.

If what I have written is unique enough to disrupt the market, a new twist or a new type of perspective on the genre, then the Agent may very well request pages, just to see what this curious thing is.

But.... if they don't, and I have to hope that its because they are just to busy, then at least I can self publish my: "No agent will represent my Title, so I am publishing here for those who have time to look at a snazy book cover."

And since I continue to write the series, now I have more than one to publish. The thing is nothing is a sure thing. I am a jack of all trades and I live every moment in the moment.

Some may call that reckless, I call it living. But out of the 116 people who read my novel only 2 said that they would make it longer. I believe in what I know. I know what I like, I know what that 116 count audience likes and so I write to that strength.

If its not a winner well then : I can fly a plane, I have been sky diving, I can surf, sing opera, been a karaoke dj, performed in front of 20,0000 people, been to American Idol, America's got talent, been in a commercial, been on the radio, I play the saxophone, piano, clarinet, and harmonica.

I ride horses,, now I can hit a deer from 75 yards with a bow and arrow.
I ride a skateboard, and I skate with old school skates. I am married have 4 children, and I am a software engineer going back to school for literary arts.

I grew up in a bad neighborhood, held my hand to a bleeding wound in my friends stomach after a stray bullet from a drive by shooting hit him. Been mugged and had my ribs and jaw broken in the process. Broke three of my fingers saving a woman from being battered by a man twice my size.

I can sew, and stitch; I have seen the lighter side of life and the darker side sometimes simultaneously. In all my life, there has been one constant, I have told stories; whether about my experiences, or about dragons breathing fire upon the unlikely.

So I will continue to do so, recklessly if that is what must be done.

I love you all, for you enrich my life with your words and your passion for what you do. And so as my list here has been shared I will add to it: that I have commented with some of the best people on the planet in a safe place that makes me feel good about being myself.

Thanks Janet for this microcosm you have created.

Now the Lima bean stew here on Carkoon is boiling over so I gotta go. TTYL

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I haven't had an agent break up with me (though my mentor had a few die on her).

It sounds very much like having a boyfriend break up with you. I've had that happen too, too many times for my comfort. I had one break up with me the day after he proposed to another woman. Ouch.

Even though he broke up with me, I held him to a committment he made before he broke up. I told him he was not going to back out of being my plus-one at a good friend's wedding.

So yes, I once took someone else's fiancee to a wedding as my plus-one. I have pictures to prove it.

If an agent were to break up with me, unexpectedly out of the blue, like what happened with Opie's Friends, I'd be demanding closing actions. ("You're breaking up with me? *sob* What's your brother doing this weekend?")

I'd tell them to provide me with recommendations to peers. Ain't no way I'm going back to Square One. If I have to climb back on that Query Train, I'm gonna do it with a handful of gilt invitations for the next few stops.

I'd be asking for the full submissions list for my project(s) and her list of editors to whom she was going to submit.

What else should I ask for? I went in with this agent for the long haul and invested the first parts of my career with her.

------------------

DLM: prayers for your mom this Holy Week. Let her know a whole lot of people are hoping things will get better.
EM and Julie: hope you're doing okay today.
Everyone in Brussels: May you find comfort at this time.

DLM said...

This community is a blessing, and thank you Julie for making me cry. Again. Today seems to be the apotheosis of my hormonal rush. You are all part of a group to be grateful for, and I am that indeed.

It may be time for me to dig up some sort of a tearjerker off my DVD shelves - or maybe watch The Day the Universe Changed, because James Burke reminds me so of my dad in some ways. Probably tearjerker, though. Like y'all haven't done enough (looking at Julie).

Thank you.

BJ Muntain said...

Thank you, Julie. That's a perfect verse to read right now.

DLM said...

I wanted to tell you all, my mom sends her heartfelt thanks. One of her siblings turned a miraculous corner today, and my stepfather was able to go to church this weekend for the first time in months. My uncle's wife is in a similarly difficult situation with caregiving, so my prayers are with her as well.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

After starting the day riveted to CNN, I left work tonight, a full moon lit my way home. Came here first, not sure why, and then I read.
Love you guys, I mean it, love ya.
What a day this has been for many of us.

Lennon Faris said...

This post fills me with trepidation about signing with the 'wrong' agent. I know, it's teaching us what to look out for (and thank you Janet for posting). Still...

2Ns - as usual I snorted at your 7:20 am comment.

Diane - saying a prayer for your Mom. I hope she can cope well.

Julie - you wrote your Deut. verse at 2:57, to the the minute my 3 yr old was going into surgery. I was holding her hand and watched her eyes roll back. (She had ear tubes placed and adenoids out and is sleeping peacefully upstairs now). Shoulda had my computer with me, lol. Apparently even God wants me to read this blog.

Jason Vierra - sounds like you've got your bio down. I read it in fascination!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Lennon, my 2yr old granddaughter had the same operation, she's fine.
It's tough isn't it ? Good thoughts your way.

Lennon Faris said...

Thanks, 2Ns. Glad your granddaughter is also doing well :)

Barbara Martin said...

Janet, thank you for this intriguing post on agents. It certainly sets the stage for an aspiring writer to beware of the pitfalls of getting signed with a publisher.

John Frain said...

Lennon, you have to be careful when you write "sleeping peacefully upstairs" on a writer's blog. Our first inclination may not be to take you so literally. I breathed out when I realized you actually meant the second story of your house and not some Raymond Chandler version of a long sleep.

Glad she is fine. And yours too, 2Ns, who continues to wreak havoc on my computer screen. A spoon and half gallon of Rocky Road. Indeed. I should think a priest might add that to his penance after confession. Say two Hail Mary's and down four spoonfuls of Rocky Road. Now off with you. Next!

Sam Hawke said...

Jason, I'd echo Julie's advice and say don't write the next book in the series. By all means outline it so if an agent is interested in signing you and asks if you've thought about series potential, you can produce a synopsis. But write something different in the meantime. If an agent offers representation you can get back to work on book 2. If no agent are offering on book 1 you'll have something else fresh to give you a chance soon enough!

I'd also say broadly Kevin is giving good advice about the query/pages except that his numbers are very low. 4 agents not responding is too few to make a call about. I'd say don't assume your query isn't good enough until you've had at least 10 pass without requesting pages - particularly if you've been through Queryshark so you know your query is decent.