Ask Me Anything: Termination

Today the question is
How do you know when to switch agents?
This is a tough question because when dealing with human relationships things are always bound to be complex. I also imagine other writers might have more or different advice since they're coming from a different place. But here are my thoughts.

Hopefully you'll never have to switch agents. In an ideal world, the agent you sign with with be your partner forever. Which is why I would say that if at any point in your writer-agent relationship you're feeling unhappy or dissatisfied that you open the lines of communication and discuss it with your agent. This is a tough business and there are a lot of ups and downs. Your agent can be your partner and best advocate and sometimes just talking things out can solve a lot.

But if you have that conversation and you're still unhappy with your agent, you can part ways. This happens. To answer this question, I'd say there's a big sign for me that the agent/author relationship isn't working and it might be fixable or it might not and it's no one's fault.

Ask yourself, do you trust your agent?

You really have to trust your agent. They're your partner and advocate and they're managing your career. If you don't trust them, your communication will really suffer. As an agent, I expect my clients to trust me. I expect them to listen when I offer them advice and I expect them to come to me with questions when they have them. I expect them to keep me looped in one what they're doing. We have to trust each other and be on the same page for us to make the most of our working relationship.

After you talk to your agent, if you feel like the relationship has run it's course then you need to find a new agent.

To do so, you'll need to check your agent agreement. There will most likely be some kind of termination clause that explains how you can terminate the agreement (does it need to be in writing, sent via certified letter?) and what that means for projects that have been sold or that are on submission, etc.

No matter what, you will need to terminate first, before querying other agents.

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