2.07.2007

Cyberian leftovers

Oh Snarktastic One:

I am firing my agent and beginning the query process all over again. Ugh. I am worried that my Lazy Old Agent won’t remove my name from the agency website right away. If I’m Googled by any potential agents, this could create a problem for me. Do I mention that I’ve recently left another agency in my query letter? Also, I made many revisions to my manuscript for LOA. Should I submit it as it stands now or re-revise it back to where I had it before? I now question LOA’s judgement. But never yours.



You don't need to worry about your name turning up on the previous agent's website because you will say "my former agent and I came to a mutual parting of ways" at the close of your query. What other agents are going to want to know is whether this ms was shopped around. If it was, you're going to have to deal with the fallout from that (ie it's going to be hard to find a new agent for it). If s/he did not shop it, you mention that too: "my agent and I have had an amicable parting of ways before s/he began shopping this ms".

You have amicable partings even if firearms were mentioned or brandished. "I fired my lazy ass good for nothing sorry excuse for an agent" may indeed be the Dog's Honest Truth but it's not a persuasive sales point in your query letter. I have five clients that were formerly represented elsewhere and they were all very very polite in the initial query letter. Of course, I pried into the actual facts soon thereafter but that involved copious quantities of gin and blood oaths of secrecy.

I have no idea about the revisions part of the question, nor would you want me to comment on something I haven't read.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Should I submit it as it stands now or re-revise it back to where I had it before?

Was it better before or is it better now? You want the best possible version going out to your quarry.

Anonymous said...

I have an agent and my book hasn't sold. I've been approached--based on published articles--by another agent. Channeling Hamlet, I'm tormenting myself with how to respond to this overture and whether to kill the king. My current agent--for understandable reasons (for her)--has focused on the big houses with big royalties, and rather than settling for less, is now doing little. I'm ready to publish the book with a smaller press or trade paper original. I don't think this is the last book in me, so, although my book has been shopped around, I still think it could find a home. Could an agent see the potential in a career get past the shopworn aspect of my current project? Miss Snark or others what's your experience with books that so far haven't sold getting new representation and a deal--particularly as my platform builds with quite respectable magazine credits?

Anonymous said...

Just one important question really: did the edits make the ms better?

Ron said...

I feel your pain. It’s so disheartening to finally get an agent and then have to start over. I lost my agent due to the agency going out of business. His parting words, “I would strongly encourage you to continue with your book. The market is hot for non-fiction travel related titles. I would recommend you target the likes of ebury, abebooks, Summersdale and Virgin Books. All of these have expanded their respective lists in the light of recent market successes.”

Of course none of these publishers will accept an unrepresented manuscript. I’ve been agonizing over whether to mention this in queries to other agents. If I tell them another agent thought the above mentioned publishers would buy the ms, would I come across as sounding like I’m telling them how to do their job?

Bonnie Shimko said...

Every time I read about an author "firing" an agent, it sounds wrong, arrogant even. I think of the author/agent relationship as a partnership, not a boss/employee situation.

Miss Snark said...

we actually call it that ourselves. "my client fired me" or "I fired that client" is the phrase.

Of course, there's usually a few more adjectives involved.

Bonnie Shimko said...

Okay, I'll get off my high horse, but I still couldn't say it. I've never been anybody's boss, I've always had a boss - maybe that's why. And I have to get better about using those adjectives, too. I stink at that. Thank God my agent has a backbone or I'd be giving the publishers advances!

Jim Oglethorpe said...

Ron--I'm not an expert. But if it were ME, I would query the project to new agents. Mention that you were represented by so and so at agency but due to the agency's closing, are seeking new representation. I would save the publishers that the agency recommended for a phone conversation. Good luck! You should be up and running soon. That's just my two cents.

the poopie says said...

As to whether or not you go with the manuscript with the fired agent's suggestions, I would suggest you find a reader(s) willing to take a look at some of both versions. Hopefully, someone who hasn't looked at it before.

Ryan Field said...

If your book is good, and your agent really is an old lazy ass who didn't shop it, you have nothing to worry about.

Jen said...

Finding an agent that fits is pretty much a crap shoot. Even when I've researched the hell out of them, some agents may not like my stuff or don't think they can sell it. If I go for someone who sell "similar" work, I run into the "why would I want that? I already have it" disease.
As far as revising? I don't know that I'd send the SAME work to a new agent. I'd send them the newest (and usually better) stuff.
But then, from one who is still agentless, I don't know how helpful that is.

LadyBronco said...

Ah, but Bonnie, staying with an agent that is doing nothing is just as bad as a couple staying married 'for the kids.'
It makes no sense whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but what's the potential for an ms that has been shopped, if any? Does a higher platform help revive a project?

Ryan Field said...

Hey Bonnie...You don't have to worry about these things; just keep writing well.

Bonnie Shimko said...

ladybronco, I wouldn't stay with an agent who's doing nothing. I just wouldn't say I fired her. I'd wimp out and say she died or got arrested or something like that.

I lucked out with my agent. I love her. I want to keep her forever!

And, Ryan, can I adopt you?

Anonymous said...

Hey all, thanks to Miss Snark and the commenters for sharing their wisdom. LOA's former client here, and I really appreciate the insight.

About the revisions...I wasn't really sold on them but felt the agent had a better handle on "salability" so I went along with her ideas. I'm re-revising it closer to where it was originally. I had several fulls out on request when she offered to represent me, so I think there's hope.

It was sent to five eds, four of which are still with their houses.
Unfortunately I've spent the last several months working on the sequel, which now seems like time wasted. Live and learn, I guess.

Thanks again everyone!

LadyBronco said...

lol @ wimp out!

I gotcha. :0)