Dear Miss Snark,
What's the most professional way to tell my current agent that I've found new representation?
My current agent hasn't been bad -- he's sold two books for me, and I got a slightly higher advance on the second than on the first -- but my new agent works exclusively with authors in my genre, represents a number of authors whose work I respect (some of whom have won major awards), and is far more aggressive. So I think he's going to be a better fit.
Should I just say that I've found a new agent who I think will be a better fit for my future projects? Like I said, my current agent isn't dishonest or evil, he's just not as well-connected in the genre I'm working in.
I hope you have time to answer this. I appreciate the resource you're providing. Thanks so much.
"It's not you, it's me"
"We can still be friends"
"I just need some time alone"
"Let's just take a break from being a couple"
yup...they are all the bullshit lines we say to each other when a romance breaks up.
This isn't a romance. This is a business relationship. You don't have to sugar coat it. Polite, formal and NOW are the requirements. Generally one does not have two agents at a time as you now seem to do.
Look in your contract with the about-to-be-former agent. There's probably a 30 day termination clause there. Just write him a letter, send it with delivery confirmation and say "As per our contract this is a 30 day termination letter. It has been a pleasure to work with you and I look forward to our paths crossing in the future." You really don't need to point out you've signed with someone new. He'll find out soon enough.
I had someone "fire me" recently and her term letter said "because you haven't presented this work to any publishers, clause whatever will not apply". I'll tell you, it took me a week to be able to reply to her politely. The reason of course that I had NOT sent the book out was cause she hadn't ever finished anything presentable. Of course, what she was saying, and how I took it were two different things, but when a client is leaving, I never take things well. It's just not a happy day at all. So leave off any explanations, reasons, and foo foo crap. Just say "we're done, thank you, and gimme me back my toys, I'm going home".
You really have to get on this now though. And don't worry about parting ways with him. It happens all the time.