Early this fall, my agent was offered a dream job, which meant leaving agenting. Many of her other clients were transferred to other agents at her agency, but because I didn't have a book deal to navigate nor was I mid-submission, I was not. So back into the query trenches I went. All of my friends who had similar situations happen to them reassured me that finding a new agent for my book would be easy: the book hadn't been on sub, and agents like working with authors who were previously agented. But that hasn't been my experience while querying at all; I've received constant rejections, and haven't had a single request for the full manuscript. The stats are actually worse than when I originally queried this novel! It had a really high request rate back then.
So my questions are, are my friends right? Do agents think that previously-agented authors are a smart bet, because someone else saw worth in their book? Or am I doing something wrong in my queries? All the queries I sent out have a version of this statement included: My agent, Jill Corcoran, has recently left the business, and I am seeking new representation. [BOOK TITLE] has not been submitted to any editors.
Any insights you have would be greatly appreciated. I am probably overthinking things, but the fact that I'm getting no requests this round of querying when I'm supposedly more attractive to agents has this little writer spinning around on the hamster wheel of insecurity.
Your friends are not right, but they're not wrong either.
That someone at your former agency didn't snatch you up is an eyebrow raiser for me.
Because your ms had not been on submission, you don't need to tell anyone about your previous agent. That will avoid the eyebrow raise.
Also, a lot of things can change in these intervening months/years as well. What editors are looking for, entire imprints being shuttered (two of those this month alone.)
Being previously agented doesn't give you a leg up, any more than being previously married makes you a more attractive prospective bride.
Leave out the former agent info.