What is the right way to end a relationship with an agent/representative?
How can a writer assess whether the still, small voice saying: “Enough is enough, time to move on” is the voice of reason, and not the voice of: “My dead father didn’t love me enough, here’s a cry for help that’ll show ‘im!”
When a representative seems to already be a step ahead of the game, not returning emails and phonecalls, leaving the writer to make submissions and handle follow-up on her own behalf, and generally projecting an air of radically depleted enthusiasm, must a writer make the effort for face-time?
Or does a writer who breaks up with a rep via email doom herself to the Permanent Asshole File?
Some friends have advised that it is better to have a non-functioning relationship with an absentee rep than to have no rep at all, and that one should only cut ties once a replacement is in the wings. However, I saw a dating guru on reality TV who advised that to meet Mr. Right, you need room in your closet and a clean house. Where do you fall on the “take what you can get until something better comes along” spectrum?
Thanks for any hard-won wisdom you can spare,
Break up. Now. In your situation, this person is hurting more than helping. If there was history, past deals, happy times, bad times you weathered together, well that’s another story. But so far this representative has not gotten you work, has not been there for you, has not followed up, etc. Now, in fairness, if he or she has tried and failed for some length of time, it is possible that he or she has hit a wall. Which, of course, is another reason to amscray. Is an abusive husband better than no husband? Even Robin Wright Penn finally said no can do.
Does one window close and another open? Sure, especially if you’re sitting in the last row of an Al-anon meeting and someone with Munchkins comes in and sits down next to you. Whenever a writer comes to me on the verge of leaving his or her agent, I always counsel him or her to talk it through, maybe the person needed a wake up call, maybe lines of communication got clogged like my purple bong circa 1978. That said, by the time most writers start looking for a new agent, they are usually past the point of working things out. It’s probably time for a divorce. Since you two don’t have any kids, it should be pretty clean. I’d send a handwritten note over an email, but that’s just me. From what I can tell, breaking up via email is the norm.
Good luck, Betsy
p.s. any break-up stories you feel like “sharing”?