Well, I've done it. After several years of having a hard-won, top agent who happens to be a lovely person well-respected by the writers I know, I've written the farewell email.
About 2 and a half years ago she submitted my 3rd novel, the one I've written over the course of this blog, to both literary and commercial editors. 2 commercial editors loved it. There were meetings and emails but both editors were eventually over-ruled by their bosses (the editor's clout in the big publishing houses isn't what it used to be, see the editor's lot).
Then it all went quiet. An agent can only do the big submission once in a novel's life. If it fails, it fails. But she kept me on her list at least. Left with the hope that one day she'd come across an editor who was seeking out my sort of fiction, I got on with my non-fiction. As she couldn't represent those I began my experiments with ebooks. Then she offered a non-fiction commission last summer, a quick turnaround buy-out, but it happened to coincide with the only time I'd be away from London in years. So all in all it was just one of those could have but wasn't meant to be situations. Then a few weeks ago I noticed I wasn't on the agency's website any more. That was it really. A few emails followed. All friendly. But back to square one.
Not quite. The novel's mine to submit now. Or publish. And, looking over it again I'm quite loving it. Needs some tweeks and updates but it's all there. Ready to go.
I had a quick look around at some other literary agent websites. I can't believe some are still asking for 3 chapters and a synopsis by post. All agents read their material on Ereaders now don't they? American literary agents seem so much more approachable and net-savvy than UK ones. This one, Chris Parris-Lamb, sounds the business. Young, energetic and just the right mixture of old style/new style. And here's MediaBistro's GalleyCat database of the best literary agents on Twitter.
Sigh. Maybe it's time to emigrate.
Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.