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It’s no secret that an agent’s door can be a revolving one. Writers come in and writers go out. We don’t want it to be this way, but it is. I doubt there is an agent out there who says to themselves, “I can’t wait to lose a client!” We are human. We value our business relationships and we are trying our very best to grow your career, as well as pay our bills and build a portfolio.

If you have had an agent, and are seeking new representation, I suggest you leave the anger and frustration of a bad agent experience behind you. I know it’s hard. I know you may have had an awful experience, but when people won’t stop bashing their last agent, it makes me feel like you are untrustworthy. There are so many reasons to stay with the agent you have, and probably as many to leave them. If you are struggling with the choice to stay or go, you should ask yourself this:

“Did my agent do the job I hired them to do?”

What does this job consist of? Agents wear many hats, but the main job we are suppose to do for you is pitch you to our contacts. You typically need an agent to even get your manuscript reviewed by a publishing house. If an agent has pitched you to their contacts, then they have done their job at a basic level. Then, once you’ve been pitched and a contract is offered, we help negotiate the terms of your contract with the publishing house. If that’s been done for you, then your agent has done the job you hired them to do. Do agents do more than this? You bet. We help you with your career, teach you marketing & social media, advise you on platform growth, help you with story concepts, & brainstorm with you—anything we can do to help you navigate the writer’s life well. And many times, we do all of this for free until your manuscript sells. This means that I might work for you, for free, for years until a publisher says yes. No matter what differences you may have had with a previous agent, if you bash your old agent to me, a red flag will automatically go up. I’ll wonder if you are high maintenance, or have unrealistic expectations of an agent’s role.

I just signed a guy who left his agent, and he transitioned the right way. He didn’t ever tell me which agency he came from, but just said “I’m making a change and I would like for you to work with me.” Because he was leaving another agent to come to me, I emailed his editor and asked her if he was good to work with, and she gave him rave reviews. Sometimes the fact that another agent has signed you before actually confirms for me that you are worth signing. Just be careful that your words don’t ruin the next best thing that could happen to your career.

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This series is part of the #Write31Days challenge. To read all the posts in this series click here.

 

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