After a year of trying to sell Thou Shall Not, my agent and I have parted ways. The break-up was amicable and for the best and although there was something secure about having an agent, it is also a bit thrilling to be single again. As weird as it seems, I was actually a bit scared that Thou Shall Not would sell. My agent was marketing the book as the first in a series and since I wrote it so long ago, my heart is no longer with those characters and the last thing I'd want to do (at this juncture at least) is write another Mayah Goldstein/Ron Dennis novel. Also, there was a lack of communication and the way we work is quite different, so I am looking forward to finding an agent that I mesh with.
In a way, the publishing world is a lot like dating. Things change, people break-up, nothing is forever. Editors change houses, authors change editors, agents change authors, and vice versa. While some authors swear they'd never leave their agent, others go through three or four before finding that special someone, the one who can sell their book. Newbie writers receive rejection after rejection, enough to make you consider switching teams...I mean careers. Agents sort through hundreds of bad manuscripts, looking for that one that makes their heart race.
Like dating, finding the right agent has a lot to do with gut. Sure, you can look at their credentials, their previous deals, their response to your writing, but in the end, you go with your gut. For me, I had two offers: one from my ex-agent who loved my work but wasn't as big a name and another who was as big a name as you can get but wasn't as enthusiastic about my work and who wanted a lot of revisions. It was like in high school, deciding who to take to the prom. Do you take the nerd who likes you for who you are or the captain of the cheerleading squad who likes you and is totally hot, but could easily dump you for someone else? I took the hot chick to prom in high school and had a miserable time, so I went with my gut and went with the underdog.
The recent break up does not mean that I made the wrong decision. I could have been in the same place had I gone with the other agent. You live and learn and roll with the punches. For me, I'm excited to get back into the dating world, to get back on the query go-round. I'm excited about Street Walk (it should be finished in the next few weeks) and I can't wait to find that special someone, someone I can work with and who will be just as excited about the book as I am. But as with any other break-up, I'm not going to jump into another relationship too quickly. I'm going to take my time, get my new manuscript as polished as possible, before I go out looking for an agent I can commit to.