Dear Ms. Snark,
Earlier this year I signed a contract with an agent to represent a particular project. Now, I have been contacted by another agent from a larger agency about this project. Any suggestions on how to handle this dilemma. Is there anything unethical about talking to agent #2 when agent #1 hasn't sold the book?
It's not a dilemma.
You don't get to trade up when a new agent comes sniffing around.
You're under contract with #1. You don't have anything to offer #2 until you've terminated with #1.
Agent #2 isn't going to find trading up any more appetizing than #1 or I do either. Clients willing to screw one agent are that much more likely to do it again. We all know this and it's one of the things we like to talk about.. a lot.
Suck it up.