I’ve been talking a lot to authors lately about what’s next for them. What book should they be writing while we’re out on submission? How much do I want to know about a project before they start writing? If they have time between books should we talk before starting something new?
My answer to each and every one of those questions is that we should talk. Your agent should always have some input in what you’re working on next, she should want to have input. Her job is to maximize all possible opportunities when it comes to your career and make sure that everything you do is moving your career forward and not putting you in a position where you’re unlikely to sell something.
My clients all keep themselves, and me, pretty busy. I don’t think there’s one who simply sits around and waits for that next big thing to happen. While I’m busy selling projects for them, they’re busy writing the next thing. Hopefully, something we’ve discussed in some capacity so I’m not blindsided with a project that has no marketability or feels like a waste of the author’s time (the second book in a series, for example, that we were unable to sell).
The most important thing about an author/agent relationship is communication. The more you talk, the more successful you’ll both be. In any true partnership the team is working together as much as possible to create the most successful product (or the best book).