Q08: Next Book No-Go

(This question is part of a larger subseries called Perpetual WIPs: Agented Writers. For the remaining questions, see here.)

If your agent did not want to represent a manuscript you were writing, how would you proceed?


I would listen to her reasons. She knows the market better than me. If she knows it won’t sell, then there’s no need wasting our time. And the idea may just suck; sometimes, you need somebody to tell you that.


I think it would depend how in love with the manuscript I was. If it was something I strongly felt I had to do everything for, and I didn’t have anything else in mind that I felt like I needed this agent to rep, I would probably seek out another agent. If it was a manuscript I was kinda lukewarm about, or I had something on the backburner that I really wanted this agent for, I’d probably suck it up and either shelve it or self-publish.


I honestly hope I will never have to deal with that because I have no idea. Set it aside, I guess???


It would depend on her reasons for not wanting to. If it was outside of her interests or editorial contacts (for example a picture book), I would probably see if she was okay with another agent in her agency repping that single project. My agent’s tastes are very similar to my own, so if it were an issue with the story or the writing, I think I would be likely to trust her and shelf it for the time being. However, I also like to think she would stand by me if I really didn’t want to- I’ve seen her sell things for her clients that are very, very different to their earlier projects.


I have no idea! I really hadn’t thought about it. I guess I’ve always thought I’ll talk to her about the idea before I write an entire new MS, so if she’s not into the idea, and I’m not super attached to it, I’d probably move on to a different idea instead.


I’d try to figure out why, and if possible, would attempt to fix the problem. Worst case scenario I’d have to find a new agent – but I’d try to do everything I could to avoid this, since I like my agent a lot.


As a Graphic Designer, I’m used to my ideas being told “it’s a no-go.” So, I would probably table it for later, or ask more in detail what wasn’t interesting to them and why. The problem might be a number of things: not marketable right now, not original enough, not working. I’d find the problem and fix it. If it was still a no-go, I would move on to another idea.


Depends on how crazy about that MS I was. Although, at signing, I went over my ideas, there were about 4 and she loved them all. So hopefully we won’t have that problem. Our tastes are really similar.


I wouldn’t worry, because my agent has made it clear that if she’s unable to represent the work due to a lack of experience selling the genre, she would definitely reach out to her co-agents or other sources to help me out. I’m pretty confident the agency would have my back, especially since I wouldn’t go completely crazy and start writing nonfic or something lol.


I told her about the two other projects I was working on during the call, but she wasn’t terribly interested in either of them. I’ve since shelved both of those projects, written two completely different stories, which were a better fit for her and the market. When I initially shelved those projects I felt a little…unhappy…about it, but have since realized that my agent has a much better grasp on the market and it was a good decision.


I can’t understand any answer to this that doesn’t include ‘kidnap your agent and hold them for ransom’. Seriously, what else is there? The ransom, obviously, is a 7-figure book deal. Can’t sell it? CAN’T ESCAPE.



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