Agent Insanity - what do I do?(16 Posts)
I was very lucky - at least I thought I was last year - as an agent approached me and suggested that I turn my (niche) blog into a book. Together we put together a proposal and he took it to several publishers.
But no one bit, and since then he has pretty much stopped contacting me or even responding to emails. I suggested rewriting the proposal, and he said, no it will go to some other publishers. Since then, I have heard nothing.
Now even I have realised that this isn't a partnership that's going to go anywhere. And what I want to do now is to take the book to smaller publishers myself. But he won't answer my emails and tell me who it's already submitted to.
So I have two questions. One is, shall I just send it off to publishers anyway and hope there is no crossover?
And the second is, is this normal? Do agents often do this, or shall I be sympathetic and assume he has had some kind of massive nervous breakdown? He seemed very nice when I met him.
Not replying to you doesn't sound very professional. It's normal for them to go quiet for ages when there's nothing to report but mine has always got back to me in a reasonable time when I've had questions etc. But mine is in a big agency that perhaps has more support and procedures to cover illness etc.
Is it a one-man-band or does he have secretaries etc who might know if there's anything wrong? Can you phone rather than email?
I'd be loath to send it off without clearing it with the agent first - it could go wrong and make you both look bad and unprofessional, which really would destroy the relationship. Even if you don't think the partnership is going anywhere with that book you might need him in the future. It's also possible he hasn't got back to you because he's waiting for a reply from someone who has expressed interest but asked for more time.
Thanks for the reply.
He was absolutely fine until about July, and replied to emails quickly, but then the problems started. He said that he'd got behind because he'd had flu, but then it never got better again, which is why I think there is some bigger problem lurking behind it. I've sent about five emails - which over six months isn't exactly harassment and not had a reply since October, when he said give me one more month (I was suggesting rewriting the proposal a bit).
It's a small-ish agency with just a few agents, but he isn't the agent who it's named after, if you see what I mean.
All I want really is to release the book, I don't really see how we can work together after six months of this. And I'm intending to submit to a slightly different group of publishers now.
What is the notice period of your contract with him? My agent has never not responded to me but like the countess said, periods of silence with no news are fairly normal though the longest for me was 3 weeks and if I had emailed to chase she would have responded I think. You own the rights so I would serve notice on your agent then either get another or go to small presses. You're entitled to a submission list so keep pressing until you get it, I'd say.
I feel for you - I'm on submission with no bites yet. It is a horrible flat feeling I carry around with me about it, even though I am in a happy place in my life
I don't have a contract; this was all done on the basis that a contract would happen if he sold the book. So I can just walk away, but as you say the submission list would make my life a lot easier.
I am considering shopping them to the senior agent at the agency, but that does seem a bit drastic.
And you have my sympathies. It's not much consolation to have got that much further, if it still doesn't end up in a book. I hope you get some good news soon.
Yes, you can move on - if there's no contract, you don't need to do anything.
But, if he's a member of the Association of Agents, or whatever the specific name is, he is obliged to tell you who he has submitted to I think . . . hold on, will try to find it.
Here you go - clause (e):
All members shall furnish promptly to their clients any information and material which the client may reasonably request in connection with his/her business.
Thank you, squeezy, that's very helpful indeed. I am considering going to his boss, as this may be the only way to get the info out of him.
Kerry - he's still there, just avoiding my phone calls!
I would think the fact that the agent has been working on her behalf means that for these purposes he needs to act as professionally as he would towards a contracted client.
I would write an old-fashioned letter if I were you - emails too easy to ignore, going to boss could backfire. Just keep it simple - sorry that it didn't work out, have contacted a few times, realise you're very busy, please supply information requested as per clause (e), that sort of thing.
Lots of agents out there - it has taken me a while to realise that you shouldn't get a feeling of dread when you call them!
Good luck .
Thanks Squeezy, that's sound advice, and I will do that this week.
FWIW I agree with Squeezy, I think a formal letter sounds very sensible.
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