My agent refuses to tell her clients which editors she's submitting to. She will give a list of houses (RH, S&S, etc.), and in some cases, imprints, but will not share editor names. She sometimes goes so far as to chop off a signature when forwarding rejections via email.Has this agent sold any of your work? If the answer is no, I advise you to think carefully about whether you want to continue because your idea of the information you want and hers are pretty much on opposite sides of the river, and baby, I don't see a bridge coming any time soon.
I feel this is a disservice to me, because I'm kept from learning more about particular editors' wants and needs and taste--something that could come in handy down the road, when I'm submitting something new. I've talked to her about it, but she refuses to budge on this issue.
What's your take on this? Is this normal? Should it be acceptable?
As an agent, if you told me you needed or wanted this information so you could know a particular editor's tastes and needs, or for "down the road when I'm submitting something new" you'd be out the door in five seconds flat cause it sounds like you're getting ready to either open your own agency or dump me and follow up on your own.
I too do not routinely give out editors' names. I don't slice them off rejection letters but when I send reports it's "your work is at a five way auction with Publishers ABCD and Q" or "publishers B F and D have passed, those fools".
I had a client not too long ago who was increasingly unhappy that her work hadn't sold. She asked me where it was. I told her, in the ABCD and Q terms. Unbeknownst to me, she turned around and called every one of those publishers, asked for the editor in chief, asked where her manuscript was, and when they couldn't tell her (BIG surprise) she called ME up, accused me of lying, fired me by fax and flounced off to self publishing land.
I was utterly humiliated of course. It took me about a week to crawl back to my desk, fire up the phone and call the editors. They just howled. Seems this kind of thing happens often enough that they've seen it several times before, were reassuring that they didn't blame me for this crazy lady calling them, and let's all drown our sorrows with drinkies real soon.
The bottom line is this: your agent isn't going to change. You either live with it or switch agents. To me this is not the huge red flag that you might think it would be but you're the one that has to live with it.