After issuing a statement addressing reports that New Leaf Literary & Media had dropped numerous authors after the departure of Jordan Hamessley without offering transitional support, the Authors Guild announced that it met with New Leaf leadership on May 18 and was assured that the agency is proactively working to ensure a smooth transition.
"The conversation was amicable and fruitful," the Guild said in a statement. According to the Guild, New Leaf has committed to doing the following for authors whose books are out on submission, who are currently negotiating principal deal terms, and who have finalized principal terms but not yet negotiated contracts:
- Books on submission: The author can choose to have New Leaf pull the project from submission or to continue with the submission process with New Leaf managing it until a new agent steps in.
- Deals under negotiations: The author may choose to have New Leaf continue representation through another New Leaf agent or to take over negotiations themselves or through a lawyer or new agent. Authors who go this route should join the Guild (if not already a member) and submit a legal request for review of the term sheet and subsequent contract.
- Closed deals pending contracts: New Leaf will either negotiate and administer the contract, hand it over to a new agent, or, if the author prefers, let the author take over negotiation. Again, if an author wishes to take over negotiations themselves, New Leaf recommends that they join the Authors Guild and submit their contract to our legal team for review to ensure that they are protected.
The announcements are meant to clear up the confusion that followed the news that New Leaf "amicably" parted ways with literary agent Hamessley on Friday, May 12, and sent an email to her roster of 45 authors and illustrators, informing some of them that they would no longer be represented by the agency. Affected clients took to social media to slam the agency about the way they were told of Hamessley's departure.
Hamessley later tweeted a statement explaining that her abrupt departure was far from amicable, and she will be reaching out to her affected clients once she finds a new agency.
According to New Leaf, there was some confusion over which of Hamessley's clients had works on submission. As a result, some authors were mistakenly not offered continued representation. The agency addressed that mix up in its conversation with the Guild.
"New Leaf leadership stated that in some cases they had not originally been aware that the authors had works on submission and thus did not offer to continue the submission process. New Leaf has since reached out to those authors with the option to do so," said the Guild. "After our conversation with New Leaf’s leadership, we are hopeful that the agency will engage with authors thoughtfully and ethically in addressing their concerns."
In a statement about the agency's meeting with the Guild, Patrice Caldwell said that the meeting served to reinforce what the agency was already doing to help affected authors through the transition. "This is what we've been doing since the initial email we sent out," Caldwell explained. "The Author’s Guild wanted our assurances that this is how we’ve been handling it from the start, which we were able to provide to them."