As a loyal snarkling, I offer a dilemma for your dissection, though it may put me in the nitwit category. I've been ridiculed before, so I thought I would take a chance.
After going through a full round of rejections — about 20 — my agent said that he was “running out of places” to send my novel. (He told me months ago to hold back on rewriting it, even though many of the rejection letters had similar reasons for turning it down.) Whether this signals incompetence, I know not, but I have been wondering about getting a new agent, even though mine is with a relatively prestigious agency.
Lo and behold, at a book party a few weeks ago I met an agent who is courting a good friend of mine. The agent said in no uncertain terms that agents don’t like to take rejected work (fair enough) and editors hate seeing the same book represented by different people (ditto), but he also said that I was “stuck” with the person I have, given the number of rejections I had received.
Though I felt gut-shot at the time, I have filled with doubt about trying to get a new agent. Am I simply courting disaster?
It's not so much editors hate seeing projects represented by different agents, it's that once they've said no, they've said no. There is wiggle room but not much.
If you came to me with a book, even one I loved, and said it had been rejected by 20 editors, I wouldn't take it on unless I thought the book had been pitched really really badly (calling it an epic poem instead of a potboiler for example).
Some books just don't sell. Good ones too. This is the stuff that just kills me because the same stick-to-itiveness that works for getting things done makes it very very very hard to throw in the towel.