Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Author/Agency agreement: termination clauses

Laura Stegman asked in the comment column of Tuesday's post

I have one question for OP, aside from "is he dead or very ill?" and that is, what does it say in your contract about terminating the relationship? I would also be interested, if Janet is willing to tell us, what her contract -- or even a "typical" agent contract -- says about termination by either party, and what circumstances allow for termination.

Termination should be at will.
Lest you think that involves gunfire of any sort, sorry, no. We are not allowed to kill each other, other than metaphorically.

That is either party can end the agreement without cause.You don't have to prove that I'm derelict in my duties, and I don't have to prove you're a dimwit who can't take directions.

Generally there's a notice period.
You fire me, I have 30 days to close out submissions, get the paperwork in order, and erase you from my speed dial.

You are free to solicit new representation at once of course.

Earned commissions survive the dissolution
If I fire you, and this is JUST ME, not industry standard, I generally give you the sub list and waive any claim on future sales.  I do NOT waive my right to commission on the books I've sold except in unusual circumstances.

Parting ways is really really hard.
I hate doing it.
But sometimes,  clients need a fresh start with someone new.
And sometimes I can't get the job done that you need.

And sometimes we both recognize we made a mistake.
(those are the hardest)

Any questions?


Steve Forti said...

Gotta *have* an agent to have questions about parting with an agent.
*goes back to searching for mental energy to progress WIP*

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I hate the thought of having to know how this is done. It is so hard to find an agent in the first place. It has to be heart-breaking when it doesn't work out.

It's bad enough the spikes along the bottom of the query trenches. I hit two silly ones in the last weeks. The second I can easily atone for a no one will be the wiser. The first just floors me that I can be this oopsie.

I set up a new email address that is meant to be just for writing business. My personal email gets so clogged. Anyhow, the first two agents on my list (one you probably know) had corresponded with me in the past at my personal email so I used my personal email for those. Both had auto-responders (good and decent agent people) so that is cool.

The next six I sent from my new email address just for writing. Silence, long silence. I had thought I would get at least a rejection from at least one by now.

Anyhow, I noticed I was getting an email error on my phone but I was still getting email so thought nothing of it. Until I went directly into my new email on the web client to find all of those queries bounced back. I had the password wrong in my client email and so I have been Norman-ing six agents all this time. Ugh!

Things that can go wrong you never thought could go wrong.

Laura Stegman said...

Thanks for the info, very interesting! On a daily basis, I'm so grateful for your site and all you do to support and inform and enlighten writers.

Beth Carpenter said...

Oh, no, E.M. Goldsmith. I can feel you. I've done similar. Hope this turns out to be one of those funny stories you tell someday when you're wildly successful and someone asks how you got your start.

Craig F said...

I had a problem with gmail not long ago. They upped their security and windows didn't. Gmail got kind of pissy about access.

Very sensible way to dissolve a relationship. Even better if it had progressed past the place where the agent think they can just clam up on you.

That is still the problem because there are times that water needs to get under the bridge and that can't happen until you talk.

I know that from the experience of my first wife. It wasn't exactly a sensible dissolution.