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View Full Version : Question about poss. offer of rep. and a req. for a full



agentpaper
02-06-2010, 02:17 PM
I'm a little new to all this, so you'll have to forgive me.

Okay, so I got "the call," sort of. I had an offer from a small press (long story) and contacted of few of the agents on my list to say I'd received the offer. I'd only had a chance to contact one of the agents before I received a phone call. The agent in question and I talked for almost an hour while she asked me (what I am assuming are) the standard questions. Other works, sequels, what I expected, etc. Then she asked for the full of that and another mss I'd completed and asked if she could call me back in two days, because she needed time to review the rest and to contact her partner. I said, yes and then spoke with her again two days later(Fri). She said she hadn't been able to speak with her partner and asked if I could give her until Monday. Again, I said that would be fine. Just after I hung up with her, I received a request(via email) for the full mss from another agent who'd had a partial. They want an exclusive and they want it snail mailed.

So, my question is, what do I tell this other agent? I don't want to shoot myself in the foot in case the first agent doesn't offer, but I don't want to waste the second agent's time either. Do I send the rest of the mss with a cover letter stating I can't grant the exclusive? Or email her saying the same? And do I tell her about the offer from the small press, which I'm not sure I'm going to take now after the conversation with the first agent.

The first agent is newer(though she has a lot of years in the editing business and her partner has been a very successful agent), but she is very enthusiastic and someone I could see myself getting along with and working with very well(sorry for the long sentence). However, the other agent is from a bigger firm and possibly has better connections, though she too is "new."

Any help at this point would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

flyingtart
02-06-2010, 03:51 PM
If the first agent didn't ask for an exclusive you are perfectly within your rights to show it to anyone else and strictly speaking it's none of their business, but in the interests of openness it might be politic to drop her an email saying you have someone else interested. (And it might hurry things along.) You should tell the second agent another agent already has it so you can't give them an exclusive but say you have not agreed to any offer of representation yet. You're right to keep your options open at this stage.

Julie Worth
02-06-2010, 04:33 PM
Just after I hung up with her, I received a request(via email) for the full mss from another agent who'd had a partial. They want an exclusive and they want it snail mailed.

So, my question is, what do I tell this other agent?

You don't tell them anything. You wait for the first agent to get back to you, and if she doesn't want to represent you, or if she wants all kinds of changes before she does, you mail off the MS to the second agent. No one expects you to mail it the same day. If the first agent keeps you in limbo for a couple of weeks, and you still like her, you mail off the MS anyway, with a cover letter saying that you can't grant exclusivity because you have a full out with another agent, however, you won't send out any more fulls for a month...or whatever short time you think you can get away with. Check with agentquery.net to see what their typical response times are, and give them less than that (but not more than two weeks or a month--you have a hot property, afterall). And, of course, you also have that small press to worry about.

However it works out, congratulations on all the interest!

BTW, I had a similar experience recently. A beta copy made its way to an editor of a small press (without my knowledge), and he wanted to publish it. I had seven fulls with agents at that point, so I emailed them about it, and only one bothered to respond (in the negative, saying it was too edgy for YA), so I went ahead and signed with the publisher. They're small, but they have a lot of contacts, and I kept most of the sub rights for myself.

Twizzle
02-06-2010, 06:38 PM
I'm one of those who believes, thanks to personal experience, that you just don't know who the right agent is for you until you get to personally talk to all interested agents and hear them out. I didn't sign with who I thought I would-definitely not the initial offering agent, my good friend didn't sign with who she thought she would-not her initial offering agent, and on and on. So were it me...

If the first agent didn't make an actual offer of representation, then snail the second agent the mss she wants and I'd shoot a reply email letting her know about the offer from the pub and that you're unable to grant an exclusive because other agents have the full already but you mailed it anyway. Email the rest of the agents you hadn't gotten to yet to let them know you have an offer from a publisher. If any one of those also want the full ms sent, I'd send it. If you hear back from the first agent on Mon with an offer to rep you, ask for time to consider and let other agents know, and then email any other agents who are reading (including that second agent) your ms and let them know.

I know some will say wait on the first, but I've never believed in waiting on what people might do. All you've had is a phone call to talk, no offer, so just keep going. Sometimes agents don't call when they promise, or take longer, or change their minds, and, well...just keep going until otherwise is my advice.

(Cause I know you're worrying about it--I wouldn't worry about snailing the second. Same thing happened to me. I snailed, then before he got it, I too had to email agent to let him know I had offer, he had me also email the ms and print it out himself. They've been through this before. :) No biggie.)

Julie Worth
02-06-2010, 07:28 PM
My problem, Twizzle, is with that second agent wanting an exclusive. This is rare nowadays, and in my experience, associated more with new and not very good agents.

Twizzle
02-06-2010, 07:49 PM
My problem, Twizzle, is with that second agent wanting an exclusive. This is rare nowadays, and in my experience, associated more with new and not very good agents.

Agreed, in that it's rare in my exp too. But I see it as sort of irrelevant at this point. The OP can't grant it (and I'd argue never should). So, were it me, I'd send it, let her know it's not exclusive (I wouldn't promise to hold off on subbing any more fulls.) and keep going. The agent will decide whether to consider it or not. My opinion would be their loss if they didn't and not someone I'd want to work with in that case. As to whether she's requesting it because she's new or not a very good agent-well, were an offer made and she threw her hat in the ring, it's something the OP would need to research and decide for their self.


But I wouldn't hold off for anyone on anything without an offer on the table. Just wouldn't. :(

agentpaper
02-06-2010, 08:13 PM
Thank you everyone for your replies and advice. I will send the snail out, and then email the agent to let her know I can't grant the exclusive, but I sent it anyway.

flyingtart: I agree that I should be open with everyone at this point. That way I can try to cut down on any animosity when/if I choose not to go with them.

Julie: That's pretty close to what happened to me (with the publisher that is), so I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

Twizzle: That's very good advice, thank you so much. And you're right, I was worried about sending the snail and then it not making it there in time before/if I get the offer of rep. So, you've relieved some of my fears, at least. :)

As far as the second being new. Yes, she is, but the agency she is with is old and established. And still stuck in the "old" ways of doing things. Almost everything has been done by snail, including the initial query, the partial, and, of course, now the full. So, I'm not so sure it's a matter of being new, but of being "that's just how we do things." Then again, I could be completely wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. :)

fov
02-06-2010, 09:34 PM
My problem, Twizzle, is with that second agent wanting an exclusive. This is rare nowadays, and in my experience, associated more with new and not very good agents.

I don't know about that... when I was looking for an agent, several asked for exclusives, including a very reputable agent from William Morris.

I would see what the first agent says on Monday. If you do get an offer but still want to give the second agent a chance, email to let him/her know the status and ask if it would be okay to send the manuscript by email instead. And set a deadline for when you'll need to hear back from them.

Giant Baby
02-07-2010, 10:40 PM
My problem, Twizzle, is with that second agent wanting an exclusive. This is rare nowadays, and in my experience, associated more with new and not very good agents.

The agents at JVNLA also always ask for exclusives, but I've never heard of any of them not waiving it when one can't be granted. Some agents insist upon them, others just hope they'll 'em.

Agentpaper, remember that if you do get an offer from the first agent, you don't have to respond right away. It's pretty standard to ask for a week to consider the offer, so you've got some leeway there, too. I suggest you do as Twizzle recommends. The week I took between first offer and decision was critical to my outcome (like, "wow that was a close one" critical). You could end up with more than one offer, and you definitely want to respect the time of the other agents reading your book by giving them the option to read quickly or bow out (and not risk them spending hours on your ms later when the book's no longer available).

(Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the second agent asks you to email the manuscript instead once you let her know you've got someone considering it over the weekend. But, if she won't budge, just let her know you'll be happy to notify her if exclusive becomes available and see what happens with the other agents.)

And, most of all, CONGRATULATIONS!

agentpaper
02-08-2010, 03:05 AM
fov-since I missed getting to the post office yesterday, I might just have to do that. Not sure if there is a point in sending it out and then hearing back a few hours later that I need to email her.

Giant Baby-I LOVE your avatar. I need to get one of those for my garden. I was planning on taking a week to consider. I have quite a few partials and fulls out there, including one with Writer's House and I'd hate to miss an opportunity. And thank you for the congratulations.

Thanks for all your help, everyone. I truly appreciate it. This was a problem I hoped I'd have, not one I was actually expecting. I'm glad I joined this site, it's been a great help already and I have only been on here a few days. :)

Oh, is there a place here that has a list of questions I should ask the agent if the need arises? I have pretty thoroughly researched the agents I've queried, but there's probably questions I haven't thought to ask.

cate townsend
02-08-2010, 08:34 AM
Oh, is there a place here that has a list of questions I should ask the agent if the need arises? I have pretty thoroughly researched the agents I've queried, but there's probably questions I haven't thought to ask.

Check this thread, agentpaper:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=170341

flyingtart
02-08-2010, 01:22 PM
Here's another article (http://www.agentquery.com/writer_or.aspx) about this.

agentpaper
02-08-2010, 05:29 PM
Cate: Thanks. Can't believe I didn't see that thread. (palm-face) :Headbang:

FlyingTart: Thank you very much. That was very helpful. Answered all sorts of questions I hadn't thought to ask. :)

Julie Worth
02-08-2010, 05:47 PM
The agents at JVNLA also always ask for exclusives, but I've never heard of any of them not waiving it when one can't be granted. Some agents insist upon them, others just hope they'll 'em.

And that's one reason to wait a few days. If the first agent came back with a reject, the MS could go out with no strings attached...except for a deadline. You never send out an exclusive without one.

flyingtart
02-08-2010, 05:50 PM
No problem. Best of luck with it! :)