Love or money
Dear Miss Snark,
I completed the manuscript for my novel about a year ago. Soon thereafter, I was thrilled to be offered representation by an agent with one of the top literary agencies in NYC. Too thrilled, in fact, to be bothered by the little things like, oh, the fact that said agent didn't really "get" my book and doesn't rep anyone in my genre. I was swept away by the waves of praise and encouragement. I got all caught up in the "I have an agent" glory.
So the question is this, your snarkiness: Do I try to churn out something more commercial, as my agent has suggested and, hopefully, get a book deal and a "foot in the door"? Or, do I cut and run, starting from scratch to find an agent to "champion" my style and work?
Also, can I query agents while I'm still technically represented? Do I need to let my agent go before I start the process?
A pleasure to e-meet you.
Thanks for the blog.
Miss Snark can only answer part of this. What you choose to write, to invest your creative energy in, has to be your choice. I will not presume to advise you on that.
That said, the essential ingredient in an agent client relationship is that the agent champions the client's work. The actual work, not the work to be done down the road if they decide to write something else, but this novel, the one in hand. If an agent doesn't like it (and it's not part of an existing deal) and has to shop it around, nothing replaces the energy of passion and enthusiasm.
I believe this with all my snarky little heart. I believe this cause I've worked on things I've hated. They didn't do well. I've worked with clients I didn't like. I was glad when we parted company. I've been in the biz long enough to know I have to like my clients (most of the time anyway) and believe in their work in order to be an effective advocate.
And yes, you have to end your relationship with this agent before you start hunting for a new one. Word gets around fast, and the LAST thing you want is to be saddled with a reputation as unreliable and sneaky.
This is a business not a romance. Have a business conversation with your agent. Express your concerns. Decide what to do, and proceed. This is YOUR creative life. Don't fuck around.