Will My Agent Rep a Different Genre?
Blog reader J. Larkin wrote:
I am currently seeking representation for a picture book (as an author, not an author/illustrator). I know the demand for picture book texts is not high at the moment, so I’m not expecting much of a response. But if I DO land a representation deal, will I be expected to stick with that agent when my YA novel is ready? Is it considered uncouth to query other people with a different style of project when someone else has helped you into the publishing world?
This is a great question because it allows me to point toward a bigger picture. As we agents try to remind writers often, the agent-client relationship is… a relationship. So once you have an agent for that kids’ book, then the question of what to do with your YA novel is between you and your agent. Any answer I give you today would be irrelevant. This is something you’d talk over with your agent.
You’ll want to discuss ALL of your writing right when the agent offers representation. It’s not like you’d keep that YA novel a secret. So presumably from the beginning, you and your agent would already have an idea of what to do with the YA novel. Either your agent will represent it, or she’ll recommend someone else to rep it (perhaps at the same agency), or she’ll set you free to do what you like.
Odds are on the side of the same agent wanting to rep your YA, however, for a couple of reasons. First, many agents who do kids’ books also do YA. And second, few agents like to divide up a client’s work and only rep part of it.
Of course, in that initial phone conversation with the agent, when you tell her about your YA novel, there’s a chance she might only be interested in repping you if you’re going to continue writing children’s picture books. After all, it’s unlikely she wants to take on a client for a single book. So you’ll have to work that out.
This advice goes for anyone writing in more than one genre. If you get an offer of representation from an agent, that’s the time to tell them what else you’re writing, and work out how those other genres will be handled. (There’s a chance the agent will tell you she needs to stay focused and you should too.)
Hope that answers your question!
Q4U: Can you relate to J’s situation of writing in more than one genre? Tell us about it.