How To Know It’s Time To Get A New Literary Agent

By on November 9, 2016
How To Know It's Time To Get A New Literary Agent - Writer's

Leaving your literary agent is not a decision any author should take lightly. However, it is important to make sure that you do what is best for your writing career.

Being an author is like having a business, and sometimes difficult decisions need to be made to ensure that you continue to enjoy success.

If you feel you have problems with your literary agent, it is advisable to try and work through them first, as starting the process of finding a new one can feel arduous and be rather time-consuming too.

No one wants to fire their literary agent. However, only you will know if the working relationship needs to end. If you are considering doing so but aren’t sure whether it is the right time to say goodbye, take a look at these signs that maybe you need to think about moving on.

Communication becomes problematic. If your agent takes ages to return your phone calls or emails, you have a right to feel annoyed. As their client, they should be looking out for you, and you should feel confident they have your bests interests at heart. If they don’t communicate with you in a timely fashion, this can lead to you feeling frustrated and neglected and a realisation that perhaps they aren’t working for you as well as they should.

They promise but don’t deliver. If your agent keeps telling you that they can sell your book, or give your sales figures or financial estimates that continually fall short, then they clearly aren’t doing their job as well as they think they can. While it is useful for an agent to manage an author's expectations if they continue to promise you the world but you never see this come to fruition, it might be time to reconsider your relationship.

They don’t move fast enough for you. So your agent has taken you on, you now eagerly await to hear news of what editors have said about your book, but when you ask your agent you find out they haven’t even sent your manuscript out yet. Or, perhaps they just never keep you up to date on what they are doing to try and sell your book, or dodge or dismiss your questions each time you ask.

If your agent doesn’t have a firm sales plan, one they are willing to stick to, and one where they can offer you proof and clear updates on what they are doing for you, perhaps you should find one that does.

You seem to be paying your agent a sizeable amount of cash, but getting no return. If you aren’t clear on what you are paying your agent for, and they aren’t willing to make it clear, then alarm bells should start ringing.

A reputable agent will take you on because they believe they can sell your work, and make money from it. If they can’t do this, yet you are still paying out, it might be they are just in the business to make a quick buck and have no real regard or interest in the success of their clients.

You compare your agent to others, and they don’t quite seem to match up. It can be difficult to know what you should expect from an agent, and what is ‘normal.’ Speak to other author friends and find out what their agents are doing or not doing. Chances are if you have a bad feeling about your agent when you talk to others, they simply won’t measure up.

If the above sounds like your agent, perhaps it is time to bite the bullet and try to find a new one. Of course, this can be challenging and stressful. Try to have clear reasons for your current agent as to why you think it is time to terminate the relationship, and if you do go on to query new agents be prepared to explain yourself to them.

You may be concerned about not getting a new agent at all, but if your agent is not working for you, ask yourself if it is better to have a bad agent or none at all? Chances are a bad agent will do your work more harm than good, and without them, you will be more successful, and will feel a lot better too!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *