I was just thinking the other day about the influx of virtual reality based manuscript (which have all be pretty cool, I gotta say!) and I was thinking about some of the games I like to play, or one that have been popular over the years.
And two specifically came to mind:
Anonymous asked: Hi! I have a sticky question. If you have a full submission and an author decides to leave the agent before you've made the decision, is the submission taken back? Or does something else happen? Should the author wait until the decision has been made by the editor on whether they want it or not?
There are a couple of ways this would usually play out.
Sometimes the agent, with or without direction from a soon-to-be-former author client, may withdraw the manuscript from editor consideration, to keep the separation clean cut. As editors, we definitely understand that this can happen, and it doesn’t hurt the author.
Alternatively, the agent and author may decide to split, but keep submissions open. So, essentially, this if the project does sell, then the former agent will be the ‘agent on record’ for a project. This is also true for anyone who had sold books with a previous agent…the agent/agency who sells the material will always be the agent on record (unless another legal deal is made, which is outside the publisher’s realm).
In the first instance, the pro is that if the author really wants to end the professional relationship, the break is clean and done with. The con is that the book is no longer on submission, and won’t be until the author gets a new agent. Where this may make sense is if the professional relationship is at a point that working together in any way isn’t an option. Then a clean break is probably optimal.
In the second instance, the pro would be that the submission is still out there, ready to be acquired by some lucky editor! The con is that the author and agent will have to continue working together for the life of the project. In a tension-filled relationship, this could be difficult.
It should also be noted that even if the author waits to find out about a submission, if the book is acquired, that means a lasting relationship with the agent they are about to split with. Sometimes, when the author gets a new agent, New Agent will take over the day to day discussions about the book that Old Agent sold…but even so, all payments/royalties are split with Old Agent, not New Agent.
So it really depends on what the situation is, how quickly/badly the author wants to end the relationship, and how willing the author is to have a possible lasting relationship with their former agent.
Edited to Add: Someone pointed out that I never mentioned the fact that this is very likely something that appears in the contractual agreement with your agent. I know some people have a sort of handshake agreement with their agent, so those cases would be trickier, but in all other instances…check your contract! No matter what I’ve said here about other cases, legal contracts hold the greatest weight for your case and that should be the first thing you consult in any situation involving your professional relationship with an agent (or even publisher).