Dear Miss Snark,
I signed with a newbie agent. He has given me good notes and has been enthusiastic about my novel (we're in rewrite stage, not showing stage). He also has stood me up numerous times for meetings about next steps and does not return phone calls or emails. I had to write a letter to get him to respond to me suggesting that perhaps I needed new representation, and he had excuses about busyness (which is acceptable), but no apology or assurances that he would be more responsive in the future (which is less acceptable).
What now? He's guided the project to this point, so to walk would be unfair of me. But it's excruciating to work with someone who is the one sitting up the meetings he then bails on. Do I get a new agent? Do I put up with this? I don't want to be coddled; I just want a working relationship that works.
I have to tell you that the run up to going out on a book, what you call the showing stage, is the easiest, least frustrating part of the working relationship. It's just you and the author. If this part is hard, you're in for a world of hurt.
You are not an indentured servant. This is YOUR work and your project and your peace of mind. If you're writing to me NOW, you're going to be buying weaponry at the CluePorium once you get editors, sales people, publicity people and everyone else involved.
If he hasn't gone out on this book -if he hasn't shopped it-- this is the IDEAL time to make a change. Once he's started shopping it, you've got detritus to deal with.
Every single client that I sign hears the same thing from me: be very very sure right now cause there's gonna come a point when we need to draw from that well of confidence when things are going badly and we're both cranky as hell.