Amidst the turmoil that's been my life the last few weeks, I recently offered someone representation. I thought they were talented, and that I'd like to work with them; they took the time to think about the offer, and in the end, decided to go with the other agent who wanted to represent them. (This is why you submit to multiple agents, people.)
Now I'm not mad or annoyed or even really very disappointed. This has happened to me before, and it will happen again; it's part of being an agent. But I did want to share with you one of the more interesting questions that was asked me by the prospective client: What happens to my representation upon your death?
Well, basically, at that point, I'm dead. =) I could represent you from the grave, if you'd like. I suppose there has to be a market for ghostly literary agents--I mean think of the potential book deals you could make with Beethoven's ghost or the remains of Mary, Queen of Scots. But in all seriousness, if I was your agent and I suddenly died (knock on wood!), I wouldn't be representing you anymore.
What would happen is that you would then have a choice, after sending a condolence card to my family upon my untimely passing, of course. You could choose to stay with the L. Perkins Agency and be represented by either Lori Perkins or Spencer Ellsworth, or you could choose to find a new literary agent.
This actually happens all the time; people switch careers or they get very, very ill, or they do die. I've gotten query letters saying that people's previous agents have done all of those things (although not all at once). And so you go out and you do the same thing you'd do if your doctor died or your lawyer died or your accountant died. You'd go find someone that's alive to do the work you need done for you. =)
Do I think this needs to be written into an author-agent agreement? No, I don't. But that's merely because it's such an obvious question to me that I don't think it needs to be twisted into legalese. But just so you all know, this is the official L. Perkins Agency Death Policy.
And may I and Lori and Spencer all live very, very long lives. =)