I know several authors who are going through breakups with their agents right now. In some cases, the authors have gotten antsy with agents who are lackidasical about pitching books that the authors are excited about. In other cases, the agent won't return their client's phone calls or emails (!!!!)
My friend, who has a very close and wonderful relationship with her own agent, asked the agent how someone in her profession could ignore a client, or poo-poo the clients efforts of the past months (or even past years) without giving constructive input, but simply say: "Hmmmm...just doesn't do it for me. What else have you been fiddling with?"
Her agent's response was this: "It's easier to have the client leave, then to 'fire' a client. No client wants to hear 'I just don't get your voice anymore'. Nor do agents want to argue with them as to where the market is going, or what changes need to be made in their manuscripts..."
Wow, that blows me away.
I guess because I've always seen the author/agent relationship as a joint venture, a partnership of sorts. True, what we write is very personal. It's a reflection of our talents, our personalities, our endeavors. And the goal is to get recognized for our efforts—both monitarily and critcally. (Or at least one of these ways, if not the other.)
That said, both partners have to approach it as a business in order for it to be successful.
But if one of the partners can't be honest—or at least feels s/he can't be honest with the other—how does dragging out the inevitable benefit either of them?
Time is money. If someone is no longer your advocate, how can they justify wasting your time (and theirs) by not communicating this to the author who counts on them to "sell" their work product?
Most of the authors I know revere their agents. With all our agents do for us, that reverence is hard-earned. So, how disfunctional does a relationship have to be in order for one partner to opt out without having the courtesy to inform the other?
Or is it just "business as usual"?
BTW, my friend begged her agent to always be honest with her, no harm no foul. Egos aside, if it ain't working, better to know sooner than later, right?
The forum is open,