Can be quite a lot. Kathy Anderson and Jill Grinberg have dissolved their partnership and each is now an independent. They’re both good agents and no doubt their reasons for splitting up are personal and business related and not to do with their lists. But it does interest me that they take on very different kinds of books - Kathy does mostly fiction and often literary fiction while Jill is a lot of non-fiction, kids’ books, some quirky stuff. And over and over again the record shows that the most successful multi-person agencies are like with like. It’s counter-intuitive, but that’s how it works.
I was also struck recently by an article that claimed that authors always change their names because their numbers weren’t good on a previous book and they were afraid that Bookscan would nail them and bookstore orders would be lousy. Well sometimes. But you also have a problem if your readers expect one thing and you deliver something else. Except if you don’t. John Grisham’s venture into non-fiction THE INNOCENT MAN is expected to be huge. Admittedly it’s non-fiction, but on his usual kind of subject. And the issue may be where you are in your writing career. Nora Roberts wanting to write more suspense than romance developed other names, but that was long before the Roberts name was a household brand. Bottom line, publishers are the greatest nervous nellies on the planet. So it isn’t always simple.
As no doubt Kathy and Jill can tell you.