Why Do Agents Have 30- or 60-Day Cancel Clauses?

Author:
Publish date:

I've always wondered the answer to this question, and it was answered over the weekend by an agent at the Writer's Digest Conference: The Business of Getting Published. What I'm talking about are cancellation clauses in agent contracts - meaning, if you want to end the relationship, they ask for one last stretch of time before the separation is official (usually 30 or 60 days).

So, my question was: Why? Let's say a writer calls up and says "I hate you. Let's end this thing, jerk. Commence Operation: Agent Splitsville." Why wouldn't an agent immediately respond, "YOU'RE the jerk, jerk-face! And, by the way, your comb-over is HORRIBLE," and sever their relationship right there?

Well, here's why: The agent may have work out to publishers! So simple. They don't want to submit your manuscript to editors and then have you cancel right in the middle of a deal. If the work is out to considering editors, agents want to chance to close the deal and get some moolah out of all the work they've invested thus far.

Image placeholder title

Want more on this subject?

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 18

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write an ekphrastic poem.

Personal Essay Awards

Announcing the First Annual Personal Essay Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the first annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards!

From Script

Movie Theatres Return While Indie Cinema and TV Turns to Horror and Beyond (From Script)

In this week’s round-up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, read movie reviews from cinephile Tom Stemple. Plus, exclusive interviews with Amazon’s Them creator and showrunner Little Marvin, horror film Jakob’s Wife director Travis Stevens, a history lesson with Dr. Rosanne Welch about trailblazer screenwriter Anita Loos, and much more!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a waiting poem.

GettyImages-119430542

Your Story #112

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Self-Published Ebook Awards

Announcing the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards! Discover the titles that placed in the categories of contemporary fiction, fantasy, memoir, mystery, and more.

Greg Russo: On Writing a Film Based on a Video Game

Greg Russo: On Writing a Screenplay Based on a Video Game

Professional screenwriter Greg Russo discusses the joy and challenge of converting a popular video games series into a screenplay and the balance of enticing a new audience while honoring a franchise's fans.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a city poem.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.