How I Changed Literary Agents
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How I Changed Literary Agents

How I Changed Literary Agents

Recently I shared the very exciting announcement that I have a new literary agent. I am now represented by the incredibly talented Hannah Schofield at LBA, and I couldn’t be more excited. Of course, by changing literary agents and sharing the news online I’ve had a few personal queries about why I made the move.

Why did I change literary agents?

The answer is simple, my original agent – also another brilliantly talented Hannah – left the agency I was with and moved into a different publishing role. And though as an author you’re represented by the agency and not the agent, there wasn’t another literary agent to take me on at the time.

I could have stayed and waited until they confirmed the new agent, but writing is incredibly personal and a writer/agent relationship is based on personality and trust. I wanted to work with an agent I had personally connected with and chosen so I knew I could rely on them. There was always the risk, had I chosen to stay, that the new agent and I wouldn’t click in that way so I took a gamble and reached out to a select few agents.

How to switch agents tactfully.

After considering all my options for a few weeks I reached out to a limited number of agents I admired and whose list fit my genre of writing.

As with the last time I queried agents, I reached out under a pseudonym as I work in publishing and I know a lot of agents personally and I wanted to avoid nepotism and awkwardness. But also to protect my original agency, as they are great but just not the right fit for me anymore.

Within 72 hours of reaching out to a select few agents, I heard back from Hannah at LBA, and the rest is now history.

Changing literary agents

One thing to note about my switching agents was that I was not under contract or under submission at my old agency. There were no projects underway as I was in a general pause mode whilst waiting for the new agent to start. Which meant that there were no complications with my leaving.

As soon as I knew that Hannah and I were a good fit and she had ambitions for my writing that fit with my own, I sent my email of notice to my old agency. This meant I could not sign or work with my future agent for 30 days, an agreement we followed to the letter.

Is it awkward to change literary agents?

It’s not unexpected for authors to leave an agency after an agent leaves the business. A lot of times the agent has brought the authors on personally and worked as their champion in the business, and their leaving leaves the author slightly adrift.

In my case, I wanted to work with someone I had chosen as opposed to someone who would be assigned my books. The agency I was with was brilliant, but I value the 1-to-1 of an agent-to-writer relationship, and having some control over my representation as a writer is incredibly important to me.

Whilst I’m sure I would have enjoyed working with the new agent, I felt my time at the agency had come to a natural end with my original agent’s leaving, particularly as my writing has changed since I signed with her in 2019. So I made the decision to move elsewhere and start fresh and that’s perfectly fine. Think of it like changing hairdressers or moving jobs, you’re allowed to want a change, just make sure it’s respectful.

Next steps

After the 30 day notice period was over, I signed my contract with my new agent and got to work on a new project. Hannah has sent over an editorial report for me to review and to get work editing – which is what I should be doing now, instead of writing this! – before I potentially go on submission later this year.

Fingers crossed for the future, and a massive thank you to my previous agent and agency for all their support and hard work on my behalf for the last three years.

Love Ellie x

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How I Changed Literary Agents

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