Thought you had your agent for life? What happens if your agent leaves the business?

Well you thought you had your agent for your entire career, but what happens if they leave the business? It happens all the time. I’ve recently had a couple clients come to me through this process. Here is a small guide on how to proceed.

  1. Never burn your bridges when you are querying. You never know what will happen.
  2. Before your agent leaves get a list of all the places your book was submitted.
  3. Did they offer another agent at that agency to represent you? This is often the case.
  4. Did you get multiple offers when you started out? Go back to the agents who were interested originally and query again letting them know the situation.
  5. You can start querying fresh all over again. But, with representation behind you, or a book already sold, you’ll rise to the top of many slush piles.
  6. If you have an editor already they might be able to help you in search for a new agent through some easy recommendations.
  7. Make sure you update your website and keep things fresh for prospective new agents.
  8. This is a chance to refresh and reevaluate the direction your career is moving in. Use it to your advantage especially with all the knowledge you gained from being represented before.
  9. Refocus yourself and your project or start working on a new one.
  10. Remember everything happens for a reason, so roll with it and keep writing.

While this is never hoped for, it’s good to have a plan for what to do if you find yourself in this situation. If you got an agent once, you can probably get one again. Keep growing with your writing.

Image via

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

4 thoughts on “Thought you had your agent for life? What happens if your agent leaves the business?

  1. Great post. I think losing an agent is something that makes a lot of authors panic.

    Something else you didn’t mention is that often agents themselves have some suggestions for their clients when they’re leaving. Obviously sometimes that can be a conflict of interest if other agents at your agency are interested in acquiring your authors, but sometimes it can be a valuable source of information.


    1. Thanks for the addition, Emma! Of course, agents are well connected in the industry so they’ll know other agents looking for clients.

      I think what makes authors panic about the situation is knowing how subjective the industry is. Getting that first agent that connects strongly with your work was hard enough, now to do that all over again is daunting. I hope my tips come in handy for someone!


What do you think? I love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: