Thursday, June 18, 2020

Dear O'Abby, I Have an Agent, But...

Dear O'Abby,

I got an agent around two years ago after querying a YA romance.  It sold to a publisher and will be releasing early next year.  Now my agent is asking me for a new book and while I have written two more, they are both adult sci-fi novels, which is what I actually love to write. That YA was something I wrote in two months, pretty much just to see if I could.

I have no real desire to write another YA romance, but my agent isn't interested in my sci-fi at all.  This is really disappointing because I queried two sci-fi novels before I wrote the YA and never got more than a handful of requests.  I'm not sure what to do now.  I felt like I'd made it when I finally got an agent, but now I feel like I'll either be stuck writing books in a genre I'm not that interested in, or back in the query trenches.   Do you have any advice?


Maybe Agented

Dear Maybe Agented,

First up, let me congratulate you on your upcoming release.  That's exciting news and you should celebrate it.

In terms of your problem, did you tell your agent when you had your initial call with her that YA romance wasn't your primary genre of choice?  Did you let her know your other books were adult sci-fi and writing those books was your passion?  When looking for agents to query with that YA, did you look for agents who also rep adult science-fi?

It's important that your agent knows these things.  If you didn't mention them in your call, is it something you talked about later?   If not, it may be time to have a frank conversation with your agent.

Some authors who write across genres have two agents, one for each type of book they write.  If you think there's a possibility you might write more YA romance, you could stay with your current agent for those books, and ask if she would be happy for you to query your adult sci-fi and find a different agent to rep that.   There may even be another agent within her agency who reps sci-fi and could take on selling those books for you.

But you do need her blessing to do this.  You can't go out and query your sci-fi novels without telling your current agent.  And if you really feel strongly about not writing more YA romance and this is what your agent specializes in, you need to have that conversation.  It may be time for you and your agent to part ways.  There's no benefit to either of you in staying together if you're not writing what she sells, and she doesn't want to sell what you're writing.

Hope this helps!

Good luck with the upcoming release.

X O'Abby

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