1) Do not panic.
It’s pointless. It’s counterproductive. And won’t help the situation.
2) Promise your emotions you’ll deal with them later, if they stay quiet right now.
You have to focus on what’s going to happen next. This is about your career and feelings won’t help you out of this situation. Logic and rational thought are your allies here. You need to understand what is happening. Take notes. It gives you a bit more distance from what’s unfolding.
2) If you’ve got a good agent, she may line up someone to step in and fill her shoes.
I lucked out. When my agent decided to change careers in January, she found a brilliant agent to fill in and make sure things stayed on track with the negotiations with my publisher.
3) If your agent isn’t able to find someone to replace her, ask if she can refer you to any other agents.
She may not be able to, but at least you asked. And she might be able to put a new agent on your radar.
4) Ask for the status of everything you were working on together.
If you were submitting, get an update. Find out when her last day is and follow up with her on anything outstanding before that.
5) Unfortunately, you may need to start querying again.
It’s not your fault. It’s the universe. You are still an awesome writer and you will find a new agent in time. You did it once, you can do it again. And you can mention that you had an agent in your query letter.
6) When you hang up the phone, let yourself feel this moment.
Now is the time to let your emotions loose. Just make sure you do it all offline and privately. It’s a big shake up in your professional life. It’s the loss of an important player in your author career. It’s so much uncertainty again. Fire off emails to your mentors. Call a close friend and freak out. Tell your writing buddies. Sometimes just talking about what’s happening helps you process it.
7) And if all else fails, shoot me an email.
Seriously. It’s scary when something like this happens and you feel like you are the only person in the world who it’s happened to. I get that. And you aren’t alone. So drop me a line and I will commiserate with you over it.
What would you do if your agent quit?
Saturday, April 12th, I will be at Pat’s IGA (816 Wolcott Rd., Wolcott, CT) from 10 am to 3 pm selling signed copies of my books and photography. 50% of the event’s profits will go to the American Cancer Society. We will also have a memory board to share your experiences with cancer. Please stop by!