What did your agent say, I asked.
Turned out they hadn't told their agent cause they didn't want to bother them.
OMG! Tell your agent! It's their job to deal with publishing hassles!
I bother my agent when I'm climbing walls cause my editor is taking ages with my ed letter. That way I get to whinge and my agent makes the decision of when it's time to nudge the editor.
I cc my agent on all correspondence with my publishers.
You want your agent to know everything.
I make all publishing decisions in consultation with my agent.
Is this novel YA or not?
Do we accept this offer?
Do we fight this cover?
Your agent is your advocate in publishing world. They're looking out for you.
All your business with your publisher needs to go via them.
All of it!
That was not the case with this new author. They hadn't told their agent anything and when they did the agent took over and fixed it.
I write the incandescently angry letter, send it to my agent. She commiserates, then says, How about if you put it more like this?
I swear what she does is alchemy.
Let them get you delivery date extensions. Let them handle it with your publisher.
Let your agent take weight off your shoulders.
Agents are in the biz because they like helping people. They choose clients whose work they admire but also who they think they'll get along with.
They do not consider those clients to be a bother. It's all part of doing their job.
One agent told me they feel proud that they're a part of that client's writing process.
During the worst mess I was talking to my agent daily and everything between me and the publisher went through her.
I wasn't being a bother to her. It was her job to deal with the mess and she did so amazingly. I'm grateful.
Cause I keep coming across brand new authors who are utterly clueless about what their agent does. And are deeply worried about being a bother.
It was great. Explained what every department does. Laid out what you could expect from your publisher and what they expected from you.
I wish every publisher and agency would do that.
BOTHER YOUR AGENT!
Most of my publishers have been happy to answer questions but only the one that provided resources.
Too many of us have been schooled to keep quiet and not make a fuss.
There are a few agents who make their clients feel bad for asking questions. Ditch them.
Especially as "being a bother" seems to mean asking questions.
Asking your agent questions, telling them what's going on, isn't being a bother.
Helping you is their job. That's what you pay them to do.
Spoiler alert: many authors are
Honestly, I suspect most authors are. Especially when waiting for ed letters, when out on submission.
Talk about it with your agent. Let them bug your editor for you.
They're there to help you,
They've heard it all before. You're not their only anxious/upset/angry/depressed client.
But if you don't tell them what's going on they can't help you.
Bother your agent!
Also when you look up "what does an agent do" it's mostly about selling books. There's very little about agent's work beyond that.
Yesterday authors were talking about all the rejections they get well into their careers.
I recently had a commissioned short story rejected. (Didn't fit the parameters.)
One is when to fire your agent and how to fire your agent. And what it's like looking for a new agent when you're not a brand, new shiny author.
And why so many authors are too scared to fire their incompetent agent. Often it's because they don't realise their agent is incompetent.
Your ever present fear is that your career is over. Maybe that's why things are going badly with your agent?
Maybe no other agent will want you?
Most published authors never have more than one book published.
That's the main reason why I always tell people to keep their day job.
Very few authors can support themselves with their writing.
Just remember I'm not an agent. All my knowledge comes from being on the author side of things for sixteen years.
I just know that very few of the folks I debuted with back in 2005 are still around.
Some of them are scared of messing it up. They worry that if they "bother" their agent their agent will drop them and their dream will be over.
There are heaps of reasons for leaving your agent. I parted ways with my first agent because we weren't on the same page. She's a really good agent. Just not for me.
I mean they might be concerned if you'd had, like, twenty previous agents.
They quit agenting
They don't represent the genre you're now writing
They don't like what you're now writing
You've discovered they've burned so many bridges lots of editors won't accept submissions from them
They get you shitty deals
My agent usually gets back to me on the same day I message her.
They've just been trying to get an agent where the norm is long waits. Because an agent's priority is their existing clients.
Your agent taking days to get back to you is a red flag.
Keep reading @courtneymilan's thread for more on this.
Some agents are also writers. What if they sold their own book to the same editor you're in conflict with? And they won't go to bat for you?
You don't want an agent who doesn't put your interests first.