Please Miss, Can I have another?

I have an agent. Unfortunately, I'm not pleased with him. He doesn't communicate. He won't show me my rejection letters and ignores my emails. I'm going to stick out the year with him because my book has already been sent to 8 houses (no idea how many if any have rejected yet), so no one else would pick me up for that book anyway. There's the backstory, here's the question. In the meantime, I have finished another novel, one in a different genre from the one he's representing. Can I shop this new novel around to agents while I already have another novel contracted with a different agent? Can you have two agents at one time (for two different novels)? I really don't want to give him this new novel, too, because we don't agree on communication expectations. But I don't want to end it with him yet because he's in the middle of submitting my old novel.

You don't have an agent.
You have someone holding your book hostage.
Trust me on this: there's a difference.

You usually have one agent at a time for books. The exceptions are if you are writing in two very different categories: children's picture books and porn; academic non fiction and chick lit. You get the idea.

The trick there is the agents all know about each other.

What you can NOT do is start shopping a book behind this guy's back no matter how odious he is. One at a time. Like yanno...wives.


mackatlaw said...

That would be like asking another lawyer for advice when you already are represented by counsel. We won't even talk to you beyond generalities and "come see us if you tell him not to represent you."

But holding the book for hostage does not sound good. Sometimes there is good reason to get another attorney: failure to return phone calls, personality differences that can't be solved, actual mismanagement of the case. Of course, other times no one else would want the client if he's giving the lawyer attitude and trying to micromanage the lawyer's job. It all depends on the particulars of the case, of course.

So be up front about wanting to change agents, then? Same advice I would give to anyone wanting another lawyer.



jason evans said...

I'm sure the agenting agreement provides for exclusive representation. (If I were drafting it, I'd certainly put in an exclusivity clause!) So, there's probably a solid legal reason not to go behind the first agent's back--breach of contract.

~~Olivia said...

And another reason why an author should not grab the first agent that offers to represent them.

DonkeyWriter said...

Lots of agenting agreements are only exclusive to that one book, not everything the author writes. That's how mine works. When I write another book, I send it to my agent and it's added to the agreement.

Though, I think it would still be shady to go behind his back. I think it would be okay if he wasn't interested in the other novel. But you should offer it to your agent first.