QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Monday, December 23, 2013

Open Mic Q&A

©Stina Lindenblatt

Dear Querytracker,

Does a published writer have to start over with the query process to change his agent?

His current contract has a termination clause, but assuming he wants to exercise the clause should he query a new agent? Or, can he email? Or, what is the appropriate/proper way to request engagement.


Time For A Change

Dear Time For A Change,

First, you will need to terminate your relationship with your present agent. You cannot query another agent until you have done that. Regardless of why you are terminating your contract, be courteous. Agents talk. If you show a lack of professionalism, other agents might find out about it and not give you a chance. Also, if you start talking to another agent about your projects before terminating your contract with the first agent, this too might get out and hurt you in the long term.

Once you’re ready to find a new agent, you will have to go through the same querying process like everyone else. Do not query a project that your previous agent has already pitched (unless he only pitched it to a few editors and you know who they are). You need to query a new project. Mention in the query that you were previously represented by another agent, but you have recently left him on friendly terms. No agent is going to hold this against you. Client-agent divorces are very common. If you’ve been previous published, include the titles and publishers in your bio section.

Best of luck with finding a new agent!

Dear Querytracker,

1) If I query an agent with 3 manuscripts and she doesn't accept any, but then likes the 4th, does that mean she's not interested in representing the first 3?

2) If I have one agent that likes manuscript A and another agent that likes
manuscript B, what's the best agent choice for me?


Miss Multiple Manuscripts


Dear Miss MM, 

If an agent offers you representation on the fourth manuscript, you can mention that you had previously queried her with the other projects. It could be that the writing with your earlier novels still needed work. Now that you have the necessary skill level, she might be interested in working with you on them. Or, it could be she rejected the first novels because she knew she wouldn’t be able to sell them (e.g. market is already saturation with that genre or editors aren’t looking for it). This is something you should discuss with her before signing, if you really are unwilling to shelve the previous projects.

As for the second part of the question, no one can answer that for you. You have to interview the agents and determine which one you would prefer to work with. Has she read the other manuscript? If not, then you would discuss it during The Call. Which project is the one that calls to you the most? Which one would you prefer to be your debut novel? Ideally you want an agent who loves both books (or at least the premise), that way if the first one doesn’t sell, she’ll be just as excited to pitch your second book. Unfortunately, if an agent doesn’t sell the first book and isn’t in love with the second one, there is a high possibility that she will terminate your agency contract. I’ve seen that happen numerous times. And if it does happen, you’ll be back to querying again.

Good luck!

From all of us at the Querytracker Blog, we wish you and your family a 
Merry Christmas and season’s greetings!

Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes Young Adult and New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance, TELL ME WHEN, will be released Jan. 20, 2014 (Carina Press, HQN).

1 comment:

Martha Ramirez said...

Well-said, Stina! Beautiful advice!!