Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Losing your mind is not a requirement for being an author, all evidence to the contrary

I have had an agent for the last five years or so. She’s submitted two novels for me over that time (we had a lot of nice personal responses but no sale). Since the second one going back in the drawer she has become less responsive, which makes sense - I’m going down the priority list. I sent her a new one last April, just as the COVID situation was kicking off. It’s now going on ten months and she’s sent me a couple of apologetic emails but hasn’t read past the prologue, citing being behind in her reading due to COVID. Now I haven’t heard from her in four months. 

My question is, is it reasonable / sane for me to pull the plug on our relationship after ten months? She’s in London and I’m in Australia and I’m aware that the COVID situation there is bad, but I’m just not hearing from her. I wrote this book because she liked the pitch and I’m terrified of never being able to get another agent, but I’m losing my mind!

Until you said she was in London, I was wondering if you were talking about me.

I have gotten behind on my client reading this past year.

I'm more caught up now but I'm still not as current as both my clients and I wish I was.

But, it's time for a heart to heart with your agent.

Don't try to make this decision in a vacuum.

Talk to her. Tell her you're feeling like a low priority. Tell her that if she doesn't like this new book, just say so. It's better to know than be left wondering.

Yes, we're all navigating strange new ways to do business, but this problem is one I've seen for decades. It's NOT a function of the pandemic.

 An agent who is not reading and subbing your work is just as career stalling as no agent.


Donnaeve said...

Holy smokes. I'm first???

I guess that depends on how long I take to preen.

Anywho - kudos to the OP for restraint and not acting like an asshat as the individual did from the post from yesterday.

Ms. Janet's advice is sound - and what's especially brilliant is that last line. NO KIDDING!

Amy Johnson said...

Hi, OP! I'm hoping the talk with your agent goes well, and that soon your current agent will be excitedly reading your book. Or, that you both amicably decide to part ways, and that soon your new agent will be excitedly reading your book. Great things await!

Lennon Faris said...

Good luck, OP! Change (and tough conversation) is always nerve-wracking, but it sounds needed.

Maybe let that email sit a day, too. Maybe get someone to read over it. No need to accidentally detonate that bridge.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Great advice. Although I do wonder the toll this pandemic has had on all of us and how we do business. I have gone weeks without being able to do one productive thing - getting in such a funk. But as usual, Janet has great advice.

Craig F said...

I have been fighting through the trenches for years to find an agent, so I would try for a good heart-to-heart before I burned any bridges.

At the same time, I realize that there is a limited market out there. Publishers are a scarce beast these days, so there is only so far that an agent can carry a book.

Craig F said...

I hope everyone is safe and warm today.

Brigid said...

“Losing your mind is not a requirement for being a...” would make a hell of a contest prompt, Janet.

Mary said...

I broke up with my agent because after two years she had not submitted anything and ghosted me on several planned calls. Other people loved her..the people making her lots of money. I wasn't.

AJ Blythe said...

OP, I feel your pain. We all want an agent and know how hard it is to get one, so the last thing you want to be is back in the trenches. Take Janet's wise advice and I hope you get the outcome you want. Good luck.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Do what Janet says. But, if you don't get what you want don't blame her blame the dam-pan-dam-it.

Brigid said...

I miss you all. Much love to all who swim ‘round the reef.

Keenan Bell said...

Sometimes people lose track of things or time, also could be other around her that see her trying to succeed and are jealous of it.

Amanda Capper said...

My first book was published in 2014, without an agent, by a small publisher in the States. Seven years later, now getting my second book finished which I swore I wouldn't publish without an agent...so I'm starting all over again. Which makes me want to stop all over again.

But I still have people asking when my second book is coming out, so I will persevere. And maybe I won't get an agent. So what if I don't make money or a name for myself. Maybe I can just be a local celeb, lol.

Anyway, here I am back with the Shark. Where you start, there will you end. Very happy to see familiar names!