An Unhappy Client

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Feb 07 2011

1) I have an agent
2) I’m published
3) I’m unhappy with my agent due to (a) lack of communication (b) she can’t stay connected with the internet or phone service because she lives in the middle of somewhere (c) updates on the four (4) new proposals she has are being treated as non-existent (d) legal issues with my publisher have been neglected
I’m at a literary standstill.
Any ideas?
Am I wrong for being professionally needy but impatient?

First of all, it doesn’t sound like you are being needy or impatient, professionally or otherwise. The fact that you are still with this agent says to me that you have already shown a great deal of patience, and as for being needy, having expectations that your business partner will do her job is not needy.

I could be wrong, but unless your agent lives in a third world nation or maybe the Canadian Wilderness, it seems to me she should be able to stay connected with phone or Internet. Are you telling me that her services go down so frequently that she never has a chance to send an email or make a phone call? C’mon! I’m not buying that. On days when my Internet goes down I still have plenty of time to write emails. They’ll just have to wait to be sent until the Internet clicks back on.

The truth is, the only excuse your agent has is, maybe, laziness. Or I guess lack of interest. Whatever it is, she’s not doing her job. She’s not communicating with you, she’s not helping you with legal issues; let me repeat, she’s not doing her job.

It’s time to cut and run. Do whatever your contract requires to get out of this agent, take control of your literary career, and find a new agent.


10 responses to “An Unhappy Client”

  1. Avatar Beth says:

    Jessica when I got to the submissions page and click on your name I don't see your interests just your email. I see your partner's interests, but would you mind posting what genres you are interested in?

  2. Avatar Katie Mills says:

    eek, what a horror story! Great advice and good luck to the OP!

  3. I've noticed a lot of chatter on blogs lately with agents not doing their job. This can be frightening for writer working on her first novel. I am a researcher and crave knowledge. I also like to get as much information about someone I'm going to work with as I can. Is there a way research an agent's work ethic before signing with them? Can you ask to speak with other authors they represent?

  4. Laura, you can definitely speak to other authors agents represent. Before I found Jessica, I belonged to RWA and listened carefully when anyone spoke about agents. I went to agent workshops at conferences to listen to the agents themselves. Once I had an offer from Jessica, I asked her for client contact info and emailed and then called some of her clients to talk about her and how she worked. Everyone is happier when the agent/client relationship is a good fit.

  5. Avatar ryan field says:

    "C’mon! I’m not buying that."

    That was my first reaction, too.

  6. Avatar Sean says:

    My agent is so bad, they will only respond to me with rejection letters. One after the other, which is getting me nowhere. Sometimes I'm glad when their email is down.

  7. Laura, also check forums like Absolute Write's and websites like Writer Beware. People will often post if they are having a negative experience with an agent, which could help alert you to some trouble areas in advance.

  8. Avatar Jena says:

    Even the Canadian Wilderness is no excuse – we have deer and coyotes and the occasional moose wandering through the yard, and the closest "urban" area is a 20-min drive away, a village of 375 people. My internet and phone work just fine out here. 🙂

  9. Avatar jfaust says:


    Also keep in mind that people will complain well before they will praise which means, as with anything, we always hear the bad much louder than we hear the good. I bet if you start to see names you'll find it's a small percentage of agents who don't do their jobs.


  10. Avatar Plumbing says:

    Work hard and be nice to people! A very inspiring quote. Short but has a very awarding meaning.