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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: DHE on July 21, 2009, 03:16:45 PM

Title: Hypothetical: would anyone ever have more than one agent?
Post by: DHE on July 21, 2009, 03:16:45 PM
This is pure curiosity.  My current project is YA mystery, my next is MG urban fantasy, and it's been a little unnerving that many who are looking for something similar to my current project, but say no way to UF of any kind.  I kind of shrug and figure I'll deal with project 2 when it comes up, but it got me wondering...

Say an author has a series in genre 1 and gets an agent.  Said agent is definitely interested in repping the rest of the series. 

The author, though, in the middle of this series (let's say, before she/he's contracted to write more, or something, just to make sure the legalities don't stand in the way of the hypothetical), writes a book in a genre the agent doesn't like, doesn't represent, etc.  Agent doesn't want to rep that book, but wants to continue repping the series.

Would this author put his/her other genre-d project aside, finish the series, then switch agents?  Would the author continue searching for an agent who represents both?  Or could the author keep the one agent for the series, and have another agent represent his/her other project?

Idle curiosity=good procrastination from actual work.   ;D
Title: Re: Hypothetical: would anyone ever have more than one agent?
Post by: Aiala on July 21, 2009, 03:43:45 PM
I'm only guessing, but assuming that an agent thinks she/he can sell your work in one genre, it seems unlikely that she/he would let a rival agent snag 15% rather than at least try to rep your different genre... even if she/he personally couldn't stand it. Never forget: It's ALL about $$$$$.

~A~

Title: Re: Hypothetical: would anyone ever have more than one agent?
Post by: Jessica V. on July 21, 2009, 04:48:28 PM
If this happened to me I'd talk to my agent and see what they suggest. Never ever find a second agent to rep work your current agent doesn't want to rep without getting their input. This will just piss both agents off. Your agent may have a good reason for not wanting to rep this other project (market is too tight, doesn't want to saturate it with to many subs, doesn't think the project is ready, etc...) Always best to keep things clear and open with your agent.

This works the same way if you ever need to cut ties with an agent entirely, btw. I know it can be tempting to finesse a new agent while things aren't working with your current agent to make sure you have a bird in the hand, but they'll talk. And find out that you didn't leave the one before you went to the other. Chaos ensues, etcetera, etcetera.
Title: Re: Hypothetical: would anyone ever have more than one agent?
Post by: JeanneT on July 21, 2009, 05:55:59 PM
Not necessarily, though. I know of agents who wouldn't touch science fiction or fantasy and, what's more, don't have the contacts to make sales in what is known as a somewhat cliquish genre.

You would certainly give the agent the choice. You'd never do it without the agent's knowledge. But if an agent doesn't think they can sell it, even if you're a client, hopefully, they'll pass on it and let you find an agent for that genre who can.

It is about the money, but an agent doesn't make money spending time trying to sell something that doesn't sell.

I'm only guessing, but assuming that an agent thinks she/he can sell your work in one genre, it seems unlikely that she/he would let a rival agent snag 15% rather than at least try to rep your different genre... even if she/he personally couldn't stand it. Never forget: It's ALL about $$$$$.

~A~


Title: Re: Hypothetical: would anyone ever have more than one agent?
Post by: claena on July 22, 2009, 11:03:13 AM
I actually have two friends who dealt with similar situations.

One wrote YA for years, and then decided she wanted to write a few picture books, but her agent didn't have the contacts to sell them for her. So the agent suggested a few PB agents who might be good, and my friend contacted one and signed her to sell the picture books.

Another was writing childrens books and decided to try her hand at an adult project. Her agent was exclusive to childrens books, but there was another agent within the agency who repped adult books successfully, and so they worked together on the adult submission. Now she funnels her childrens stuff through one and her adult stuff through the other.

Like others have said, you just never want to do this kind of thing behind your agent's back. But the multiple agents thing does happen.
Title: Re: Hypothetical: would anyone ever have more than one agent?
Post by: MaryL on July 22, 2009, 05:33:27 PM
I discussed this with my agent before signing.  My agency specializes in children's lit, and my agent is good with my signing with another agent for my adult projects when that time comes.  There are lots of agents who don't want to mess with that.  It can get sticky legally.

Ideally, you want an agent that handles all of your projects because it is much simpler, but this agency is so amazing with YA and MG, and I fell in love with this agent, so I'm willing to hassle with the complications of two if need be.  My YA was ready and she was the best agent to sell it. 
Title: Re: Hypothetical: would anyone ever have more than one agent?
Post by: DHE on July 24, 2009, 01:07:40 PM
Thanks guys!  Now I feel a little bit freer with my querying instead of trying to make sure the agents I'm looking at rep everything I want to try in the future.  ;D