Saturday, November 1, 2008

I was just reading recently in an article (and I've seen the same thing in queries) about authors that are in search for a new agent because theirs just quit. In other words, they suddenly receive and email or letter out of the blue, or more often than not, they attempt to contact their agent and find out the agency is no longer there. What happened?

First of all, I want to let you all know that my heart goes out to you. It is far from a great feeling to find out that your support system is not there... but there is a twist to this.

Sure, the agent should let you know they are considering this type of move. It isn't as if one day they wake up and close everything immediatly. There had to have been some thought about this. That agent really should let their people know as soon as possible to insure a smoother transition.

But here is the twist...

The author should make sure to stay in touch with their agent a bit more. This goes back to some things I have said in the past about the author and agent relationship. You as an author have to stay in the radar of the agent. You have to insure you are getting the attention you deserve. Just sitting back waiting for something to happen is simply not going to work for you.

When ever I read those letters or here those authors talking about the mysterious disappearing agent, I am always wondering when the last time was the author contacted the agent. Sending them new projects, showing them complete works, attending conferences. All of these are ways to stay in the radar and keep you in contact with the agent.

Please note that I am not saying to be annoying. I am simply saying to be visable. If you do this, there is a likelyhood that you might be in on that conversation with the agent about closing shop and who knows, they may even gracefully get you hooked up with someone else.

Just a thought.


  1. Brooding versus mysterious ? Another fine line. I was watching several wonderful BBC remakes of "Jane Eyre" and Wuthering Heights" last week, and thinking that the Dark Male will never fall out of fashion. Who is more erotic than Toby Stevens in JE when he is lying on top of Jane Eyre simply running the back of his hand over her throat? Good God, it's enough to turn a woman to water. Why can't the US makes movies this sensual, apart from Last Samurai, the kiss on the bow of the Titanic=The English understand arousal, all right.
    Meanwhile, disappearing agents-no one wants to be a pest, but I can't help thinking that when agents say it will be 7-8-12 months before they can get back to you, that anyone that busy does NOT need any more writers, and that they are simply keeping you in play, like planes stacked up waiting to land, in case one of their present wtiters goes bad. Ideally, they will havew banks of eager possibilities just panting for the chance to be brought forward.
    Nothing wrong with this. no different than a corporation's resume bank,and of course the writer must keep trying every other option, but it is impossible not to feel as if you are now that agent's longest shot. If all else fails, ideally you are still out there panting away. Very humiliating, even though it is not intentional.
    Perhaps you will say something about the effect of the tanking economy on acquisitions.
    Thank you for the very useful agent roundup yesterday. Best of luck to all of them.

  2. Hmmm .... sounds a lot like the advice I got when I started at the University. "Make sure the professors know you." "Go in for the office hours." "Ask them questions after class." "Just make sure they know who you are."

    At the time, I thought the advice was nuts, but it turned out to be pretty good. Something tells me, it might be this time too.


  3. So an agent unprofessionally "vanishes", and it is the author's fault?
    So what should the author do- email the agent every month, and if he/she has nothing to discuss, just talk about the weather, just to check if agent is still in business?

    So authors are expected to behave professionally, but agents can act like they want...

    I must say Scott, this is one of your weakest article.