It’s been a while since I posted anything here, though I’ve been posting to my Pinterest board and have a queue of daily posts set up on my Tumblr. Most of my work on this project has gone into trying to get a literary agent for the book, via cold emails of my query or proposal.
I thought I had an agent for a while, attached to a major NYC firm who wanted to see my complete manuscript within hours of receiving my proposal. After a while, she said she wanted to start showing it to Canadian publishers. While this was exciting, I wasn’t sure how this procedure went. I asked her if this constituted her being “my agent”, and later asked for some kind of formal agreement. She sent me a one-page agreement which included words like “irrevocable” and did not include anything about getting out of the agreement. The sample agent agreements I had read all had some kind of escape clause. When I asked about this, she said that was their standard agreement, and they never had problems releasing a client. After wavering a bit, I pressed ahead and asked for some kind of addition to the agreement. In case something happened like no publisher deal after a year, and I could be released. Instead, she said she would “step aside” and let somebody else handle my book, as I obviously didn’t trust her at this early stage.
This was baffling. I didn’t expect a major NYC firm to operate on a handshake deal or refuse to include an escape clause. I’ve worked on and off in creative fields for many years, and it is important to make clear the ownership of material, and for the creator to retain as many rights as possible. Getting dumped by this agent is probably for the best, but it does put the project back to the beginning.