Dear Miss Snark: Long time admirer, first time asker. I've got a short story collection--I know, not really your area, but I hope you'll be able to help nonetheless--pieces of which have been published in good literary mags, including one which Agent C lists as a "holy grail" journal. I had an agent for it, it went out, and I collected a cute manila folder of rejections, etc. Then, for some crazy reason, my agent decided to leave the business and get a Ph.D., leaving me agent-less. So the questions: May I rejigger the collection (I've since written newer pieces to replace some of the weaker ones) and start searching for new agents? Or will mentioning that an earlier version of this collection didn't fly reduce my chances to nil? And does the agency itself (where my former agent was an associate) continue hold the rights to the original collection? A million thanks with a bottle of Sapphire for yourself and a Greenie for Killer Yapp.
KY is drinking Italian soda these days in honor of the Olympics. He's hoping to turn out for the US Curling team for 2010. He figures his mastery of the Electric Slide will finally turn out to be a usable life skill.
To answer your questions: yes, no, and look at your contract. If there is no contract (and reputable agents and agencies oft times operate on a handshake basis) just tell them what you're up to. If there is a contract, find out what the termination clause says, and do it.
If you've had stories published in Holy Grails, you'll get interest. Don't forget to query widely.