Dear Miss Snark
I recently signed with an agent for my latest novel, which I had not submitted anywhere before she took it on. A publisher is reading a partial manuscript of another novel, however, and is taking a long time to decide whether they want to see more.
I haven't mentioned the other novel to my agent, and I haven't mentioned my agent to the publisher, because they requested the partial before I had an agent. Should I do anything here? Or just wait and see what happens? I have been wondering whether the publisher might be more inclined to read the whole ms if they knew that I have representation.
Uh ya. Fess up at once to your agent. It's not a problem but it could be. With any kind of luck you'll sell both and THEN you'll be in the pickle barrel. It's very common for a publishing contract to require that you neither publish another book before the one under contract comes out or for some period of time thereafter; and to have an option on your next one.
You don't tell your agent about this till after she's done a deal memo and you will be sent to the corner with a dunce cap AND no gin for a good long time.
It's not a problem for your agent; s/he's not going to be annoyed if you tell her NOW.
And she might be able to get that lazy ass publisher off her sofa and over to the submission pile to read your masterpiece.