2.27.2006

Mentioning Previous Representation

Dear Miss Snark,

A few years ago, I was repped by an agency known for launching the career of a top bestselling author of our time. About the time I was signed the principal died. Though I was still bound by a three year contract, I was disappointed that the successors didn't circulate my manuscripts as I had expected.

Nonetheless, upon contract expiration, we parted cordially , and they have fully released me from future obligation.Would mentioning this in my query letters make me appear
a)more desirable (the star-producing agency's loss is the new agent's gain)
b)less desirable (if star-producing agent couldn't sell him, who can?)
c)obnoxious (name-dropping, bitter, agent-basher)?


Mentioning what? That you're able to part cordially with someone who didn't circulate your manuscript? That you're willing to sign three year representation agreement? And what the HELL kind of future obligation could you possibly be released from?

Maybe what you intend to mention is you've learned your lesson about agents?

You neglect to mention the most important info. Is this the same book you're seeking representation for? If yes you have to tell prospective agents that the book has been shopped around, when and to whom.

If it's a different project you don't have to tell them.

The question of SHOULD you mention it is harder to answer. Agent hopping clients are generally not seen as "catches". On the other hand it's not agent hopping if your agent ain't hoppin' cause he's dead as the proverbial rabbitania doornail. If you're hoping for prestige by association, well, you aren't alone. There's a reason buildings on 51st street have a Park Avenue address and it's not cause the front door opens onto Park Ave.

Frankly, I'd leave it off. Let your writing woo prospective agents. And no more of this three year contract thing. That's just nuts.

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