Dear Miss Snark,
I had an agent who shopped my book - editors kept coming back with the same particular comment, but my agent did not agree with them and did not advise me to revise. Agent finally gave up.
During our one-year relationship (the length of the contract), said agent showed qualities that hinted the agency was way too busy for me -- although when I signed and asked, based on the mammoth success of this agent and his agency, if that would be an issue he insisted it all ran like a "well-oiled machine."
So -- over a year later, I've got another book to shop and have taken a hard look at book # 1 (not counting ms. stuffed under bed) and, taking editors comments to heart, think I can revise it to address their concerns -- but of course, I would not re-submit to those same editors/publishers who rejected it.
However, there are a few publishers my agent 'missed.'
My question: I assume even my 'revised' book is not attractive to other agents. But, if I ever sell it, am I in some way obligated to use my original agent? Or, can I approach other agents with a clear conscience if, by some miracle, I am offered a contract?
Check your contract with the Well Oiled Agent. Make sure there are no clever little clauses that give him an interest in the book after he's not your agent. If there are get him to sign a contract amendment releasing you from that clause now before there's any money at stake.
You're under no obligation to him if you sell that book. The only way you would be is if HE sold it, or you sold it to someone he showed it to within a couple months.
Agents can't be like long lost cousins of lottery winners coming out of the woodwork suddenly when there's money to be had.