Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I’ve been trying to think of a way to describe the way I feel about parting ways with my agent of four years. It’s always hard to admit failure, but there is a relief in having an answer to a festering problem, even if it’s a disappointing answer.

So everybody’s wondering what happened, or more specifically, what went wrong. Well the biggest thing is that the response my books were getting from editors indicated they wouldn’t be selling anytime soon. The second one got high interest from a few places, but they ultimately passed. I got the feeling from their comments that even though they liked the book, it didn’t fit into a mold they thought they could sell. (Which I’m sure will send a particular friend into a conniption of righteousness. ;)

The other big thing is that my agent’s communication style wasn’t really a good fit for me. Of course, it being my first time having an agent, I didn’t know what to expect, so it took me a while to figure out what kind of communication I prefer. Once I figured it out, it seemed hopeless. One book had already been sucked in by the black hole of publishing, and a second was circling it. I’d known for a while I was going to have to leave the agency, but I wanted to wait for the right time. I wanted to give her the chance to be compensated for the work she’d done, and I didn’t want to interrupt submissions.

Well, let me tell you, there is no right time. After four years it finally became clear. I just woke up one morning--March 29, to be exact--ready to pull the trigger. As I composed the letter, I looked over my contract to make sure everything was in order, and I saw the date next to my signature. March 29.

I’m sorry my story isn’t juicy with snarky dialog and tears, but it just wasn’t that way. I expressed my gratitude and regret, and she was incredibly understanding and supportive.

And now? I feel free. I feel lighter. I’ve learned a ton about how to deal with business and people in general. I don’t consider my time with her wasted, but I doubt I will wait so long to pull the trigger on a frustrating situation again.

Is there anything specific you’d like to know? I’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.

{ 11 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Will you consider self-publishing, do you think? I'm sorry things ended up this way. So many people (self included, if I'm being honest) often see getting an agent as this ultimate prize, but it seems more often than not, that getting an agent is not a sure thing to publication. There are so many hurdles to go through after that.

    I hope you will keep writing. You're a very talented lady.

  2. Thank you, Allie. I appreciate you saying that. You know what? I think it will be easier to write now. I no longer feel helpless or hopeless.

    Self-publishing is a definite option. I don't see myself as enough of a self-starter to make it work, is the only thing. The second book (BVA) still has a little life in her, so I might just sub to publishers myself before I go the self-pub route.

  3. Should I be having conniptions of righteousness now? ;)

    I'm in agreement with Allie. Fantasy is selling well in ebook form, and you've got two books (and some short stories, if I remember right) that you could put to work for you without too much effort.

  4. Haha, no, I wasn't talking about you. But you go have a conniption if you feel like it. :)

  5. Ah, so... if not Ian, then probably me, n'est-ce pas? Hm. Dubious praise indeed.

    And no, it won't ever send me into conniptions of righteousness to see another writer become road kill on the process of the publication road. It's a hard, hard thing to watch, actually. As I described it before, it's like watching a slow-motion bone-break.

    But, all that being said, Ian points out a strong reason why publishing yourself on an e-format is a good idea and might help boost your confidence. Pimp it on Facebook and a few forums you belong to, your blog here, and I'll bet you'll make more money selling your fiction than you've ever made before, and those who read it will love it.

    It's a match made in heaven.

    I'm off to have a decidedly non-conniption fit of righteousness.

  6. Hm, maybe I should have said "rightness" rather than righteousness. Slip of the mind, I apologize. But yeah, it was you, with the running theme on your blog lately. :)

    I don't really feel like road kill. I'm a bit exhausted... Maybe I am road kill after all, since I'm going to take a very long break from any of it.

    I think I'd probably make about fifty bucks. lol

  7. I used too strong a term. "Road kill" is too much. But you went through the machine and got sort of spit out. If you came out just tired, that's fine. :)

    And fifty bucks is nothin' to sneeze at! Maybe Ian knows other ways to market the book, and Konrath always has helpful tips about that. You can find ways -- free or cheap ways, I mean -- if you want. I've not had the time or funds to do much with it, but maybe that's changing for me now with the job and all.

    Very long break, huh? Too bad. I'd thought your statement about feeling freer would mean you'd be writing again. What YOU want to write, HOW you want. Instead of, you know, to please the industry. ;)

  8. I felt down after an agent and I parted ways- not surprising you feel like you need a break. But I imagine the creative wellspring will soon be bubbling up again. You are free now- to do whatever feels right.

  9. And I love that I can take as long as I want to figure that out. :)

  10. Well, the view from over here was that she wasn't really working that hard for you, so it's no surprise that you fired her.

    Weren't you rolling that thought around about the 1 yr ann too? I seem to recall something about that but maybe my memory's fuzzy.

    Forward ho! To self-publishing! Where the profits aren't tainted with the agent's cut. :D

  11. I don't mind giving an agent a cut. If she helps me make money, she deserves it. And she did work for me, that's the area where more communication would have been helpful for me. Sometimes things just don't work out, and this is one of those times. Thanks for being supportive.


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