Dear Miss Snark,
I'm almost ready to start querying with my first fiction ms, and I have a problem. I have an agent--or at least, an agent sold my co-authored non-fiction book in fall '04 (it comes out this month). I don't have a contract with her, first because she doesn't use them and second because even if she did, it would have been for co-authored works only. (This is why my publisher doesn't have first dibs, either)
She says she sells fiction, but looking at her website I see her last fiction sales were two years ago, and not at all similar to my ms. Even assuming she wanted to rep me for this work, I don't think she's the right agent here--but just going out to look for a new one feels completely wrong. Any advice? Should I find out if she even has any interest in repping this work, or just let her know I'm going elsewhere if I can for my solo fiction but hope she'll rep any more work with my co-author?
The only thing worse than someone saying "I'm going to take this elsewhere cause it's a better fit with someone else" is when they DON'T say it and I have to.
Best thing here is be straightforward with her. She'll probably be glad not to have to say no, but you must speak to her before you shop the novel so that there are no misunderstandings that could have a negative impact on your other work with her.
Don't forget to mention this in your query letter too since other agents will want to know you have other books with another agent.