Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Previous representation

I find myself without an agent after the Very Impressive Agent and I decided not to go forward. He pronounced my latest piece very good but not what he sells.

I don't cry. I query. So I'm already out with the first queries for that novel he doesn't like, as well as separate queries to different agents for the one I shelved when he signed me for my first. (Sorry, but you will be hearing from me -- do you prefer the new spin on romantic suspense or the historical mystery first?)

He didn't sell my first book. We parted amicably. I plan to say very nice things about him and hope he will do the same. What, if anything, am I obligated to tell the next agent who hopefully will be a better fit?


If you're querying for the first book that he didn't sell, you have to reveal all, and up front. You had a previous agent, the book went on sub, it didn't sell.

I can assure you that this is NOT the book you want to query on. I wouldn't read past the "it went on sub" part in a query before saying no.

You want to query for a Shiny New Book that hasn't gone out. When you get bites, you can talk about your inventory (which will include the book that went out on sub.)

When querying Shiny New Book, you don't need to mention the previous agent. You should mention it in any phone call with agents considering representation. You should be prepared to discuss what didn't work with that agent, and what you're looking for in a new agent.

You're better situated to know what a good working relationship with an agent will look like now, having had one to learn from.

It's important to know what works or doesn't cause you really don't want to be parting from Agent Deux anytime soon.


11 comments:

Kitty said...

Fiddle-dee-dee. I'll think about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day. Today is pączki day!

Mister Furkles said...

"...you really don't want to be parting from Agent Deaux anytime soon. "

But...But...There are a thousand agents. The Guinness World records are open. Any writer could be the Babe Ruth of parted agents. The Fame! The Fortune! Well, maybe not so much the fortune.

Still, the record book is open now.

Donnaeve said...

The good news OP, even if Agent 1 didn't sell Book 1, it's possible Agent 2, when you get him/her, might not only sell Book 2, s/he might also sell Book 1 -or only Book 2. Or only Book 1. It could be a toss up. Who knows?

My pointy point point? This sort of, kind of happened to me. Difference is I have had only one agent. He didn't sell Book 1 when it went on sub. Then, three years later, he took Book 2 on sub. It didn't sell - Book 1 did.

See?

Sort of convoluted there, but you get the picture. It's more of a meandering around to what Janet said, "You want to query for a Shiny New Book that hasn't gone out. When you get bites, you can talk about your inventory (which will include the book that went out on sub.)"

It's good to have inventory. Ya never know what an editor will be looking for, and in this case, the editor wanted Book 1.

dellcartoons said...

If you are on good terms w/ your previous agent, perhaps he could recommend a new agent, possibly even contact the new agent for you?

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

"I don't cry. I query." I love you OP...

Timothy Lowe said...

The road to publication is laced with landmines. I suppose that is meant to toughen us up before pubbing. That which doesn't kill us...

Sherry Howard said...

There’s a ton of emotion behind that letter. What a roller coaster we’ve paid our good money to ride! Hang in there, OP.

Elissa M said...

Maybe I read things wrong, but I got the impression OP was writing about three books. Book A that V.I. Agent liked but doesn't represent ("not what he sells"), Book B that V.I. Agent represented but didn't sell ("my first book"), and Book C ("the one I shelved when he signed me for my first").

If this is the case, then I assume it's good for OP to query Books A and C, but not Book B (the one V.I. Agent submitted to editors).

As a long time reader of this blog, I've pretty much gotten it into my head that agents always want to see the bright and shiny, not the shopworn when one queries. And that details about previous Author/Agent relationships need only be mentioned when New Prospective Agent calls about representing bright and shiny. (This is assuming Author has not been previously published, which should generally be mentioned in a query if it's good news, or mentioned when an offer is made if it's bad news.)

The Sleepy One said...

I also thought the OP was talking about three books. Meaning, she had two and the agent went on sub with one, and then didn't like her next book and they parted ways. If I'm right, OP should figure out which of her un-subbed books is strongest and query it.

Side note, I know a few people who have queried more than one book at a time. They've only queried one agent at a time with one project and been careful about how quickly they query any agents who reject one project. It sounds like a headache to me, but if you have two very different projects, it's a potential way forward.

Jen said...

The same thing happened to me, OP. It forced me to take a good look at what genre I was passionate about, and also how I can do better in my professional r'ship with my (hopefully!) next agent.

Good luck!! The important thing is to keep writing. :)

AJ Blythe said...

Fingers in ears and hat over eyes. Don't want to know any of this because I won't need to know any of this. If I chant it three times under a full moon it will be true, right?

Good luck with your new round of querying OP. I hope Agent Deux is the one.