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Author Topic: Survey on reasons writers and agents parted ways  (Read 2315 times)
Munley
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« on: January 14, 2017, 01:35:02 PM »

As well as an interview with an agent who gets a submission from a writer who had parted ways with another agent.

http://project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogspot.ca/2016/01/on-parting-ways-with-literary-agents-by.html

This site seems to be about middle-grade fiction writers, but the survey doesn't seem to be limited to writers of that genre.
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Wordwise
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2017, 03:44:50 PM »

My agent quit on me when I became a competitor. Apparently, he was afraid he might divulge too many trade secrets if we spoke too often and too freely. I didn't cry over it, seeing as I didn't have anything new ready to shop anyway. Funny thing is, he quickly became a mentor and we ended up communicating more than before.

I've been fired five times by unhappy clients. I think I've quit on about ten, mostly because no one wanted their book. In another situation, I had a client who was less than 3 mos away from his book's release, and he picked a fight with the publisher over the cover art and marketing. The book did very well, but I don't want that kind of battle again.
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Steven Hutson
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2017, 08:48:29 AM »

I think I've quit on about ten, mostly because no one wanted their book.

Soooo you're not really an agent who's looking to support an author through their career then.
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2017, 09:34:22 AM »

Soooo you're not really an agent who's looking to support an author through their career then.

Every agent quits on clients after a point.
Me, I pitch 50-60 publishers, nudging at intervals, and generally score a couple dozen reads.
Some request rewrites, and sometimes the author refuses.
When the editor gives a reason, they generally either cite the writing or the plot or the platform as a reason.
Your writing is your writing, and your platform is your platform.
So after a year or more, yes, it could become an exercise in futility.
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Steven Hutson
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2017, 07:54:58 AM »

Right, like I said. They've written a single book, and when it doesn't sell, you drop them, because you're not interested in their CAREER, or what they might write next, you're just interested in that single book.

Now, that's fine. Plenty of agents only rep authors on a book by book basis. That's stated on their websites and contract, though. I'm betting yours doesn't state that at all, giving the appearance you're there for the long haul, but in fact only being there when the book is a success.
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2017, 09:51:01 AM »

I think almost every agent and publisher prefers to sign authors with multiple books to sell. Given the work that's required to sign a new author, it's more efficient that way.
But if the publishers declined because you have no platform, you'll have the same problem with the next book and the next.
I can't manufacture that platform at will. Either you have it or you don't.
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Steven Hutson
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2017, 10:35:18 AM »

So if they don't have the platform, why do you even sign them in the first place?

Because according to you, if an author has no platform, their book won't sell, and if their book doesn't sell, you drop them as a client.

Surely, an experienced agent like yourself would think, boy this person doesn't have a platform which means the book won't sell, so therefore I shouldn't sign them.
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2017, 11:08:44 AM »

Yup. I guessed wrong, in their favor.
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Steven Hutson
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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2017, 11:10:47 AM »

Yup. I guessed wrong, in their favor.

Hmm, well, I'm glad my agent doesn't do a lot of "guessing" with my career.
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