The business of a retiring agent

This morning was quite busy. London and Paris are still here and we’re working out what we’re going to do with Lorainne’s clients. She’s always been happy with our new business model in principal, but she’s never been too comfortable putting it into practice herself. So, a lot of her clients are long standing authors, who have been loyal to the Agency for years, and we manage them in a traditional author-agent-y sort of way. Some mentor new clients, but, generally, the way we work with them is pretty bog-standard.

It’s good practice to give them the option of going with another Agency when Lorainne retires, but, of course, we don’t want that. Plus, we’re keeping the sale on the down low. There’s no real reason to make a song and dance about it. The new guy, let’s call him Boss, is only the owner in name. This new business situation should only affect us, not our clients or the publishers, or other venders we work with. So, we’re trying to hash out how to handle this without making it a big drama for the people we work with. We need to tell the clients that there is a change, but in name only. We need to assure them that it’s business as usual.

Plus, there’s a clause in the contract with Boss that if we take the full buyout (as Lorainne has done) we can’t work with any of our clients on a professional level for three years. In other words, she can’t leave and take her clients with her (as she initially suggested I negotiate for). Anyway, all our clients are represented by the Agency, not the agent. So we can, if we want, just switch their representation from Lorainne to one of us. But that’s not really cool.

We’re going to tell them that Lorainne has retired and we’ve got a new silent partner, but they’ve been reassigned to either London, Paris or myself.

Then we’ll respectively meet with the authors, assure them that they’ll still get great service, but if they wish to go elsewhere we’ll understand. Then we just hope for the best.

Lorainne has been slowly minimising her client list over the years, so we’re only talking about a dozen. It’s not a lot. But they’re big money makers, so we don’t want to lose them.

Oh, and the other massive adjustment. Lorainne will be leaving next week, so I’ll start working from home. Not sure if I’ll be able to handle that, as I get distracted easily.


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