View Full Version : Question on exclusives

04-13-2010, 12:11 AM
If an agent is given an exclusive during the period when revisions are being done, does that exclusive end the minute the revised MS is sent to the agent?

04-13-2010, 12:42 AM
Not necessarily, and in most cases I'd say no.

Some (Most?) agents who work with an author on revisions pre-signing expect to be the first to see the revised manuscript their comments led to, and to have it exclusively for some reasonably short period of time. That expectation becomes even more likely when you have actually agreed to give an exclusive during revisions - as it implies that the agent expects to have the first exclusive look at the revisions.

If the agent asked for an exclusive on the revisions, the agent might be (probably is?) also anticipating a reasonable time to review the revised manuscript before you send it out to others.

So be clear when you send it about how long you're willing to allow that agent an exclusive read of the revised manuscript, and make it a reasonable time period, and then honor it.

If you don't wish to honor any kind of continuing exclusivity, my advice is to be very clear in the email/cover letter that you believe the exclusivity has expired and intend to query other agents with the revised manuscript. IMO, that may (will) piss of the agent, so I'd be tempted to grant some reasonable continuing exclusivity if you are really interested in this agent. But that's up to you, and you should be very clear either way not to mislead the agent.


04-13-2010, 12:52 AM
Yeah that's my thinking.

04-13-2010, 03:05 AM
When you first query an agent I think it would be a big mistake to offer exclusivity in your query. If you agree, then I assume you are speaking of an agent who receives your query--and whatever else she requests in her guidelines--and subsequently asks you for an exclusive. If that's the case, and you grant her exclusivity for lets say 4 or 6 weeks, and she then gets back to you prior to the deadline and requests some revisions, you have a choice to make. Do you agree with the revisions or do you think the manuscript is fine as it is? If fine, you will of course let this agent know that you don't believe any revisions are necessary but you would be delighted (if you would) to have her take on your work as is, which she probably won't. If that's the case, you continue to query other agents, as you should have been doing. However, if you want to take on the revisions you have a choice to make -- whether or not to continue the exclusivity while working on the revisions. I don't think it's unreasonable for an agent to expect that you would since in a very real sense you are agreeing with her critique. For how long? Well that becomes a bit muddy since several factors are now involved.

Frankly, this is but one of many reasons why I am so dead set against exclusives. But this is your decision based upon your views.

Good Luck.

04-13-2010, 05:26 AM
I agree, in a perfect writer/agent world, there would be no exclusives. But I also granted one, and the end result was that the agent wanted to "work with [me] to make it marketable" (no offer of rep.). I was thrilled, as this agent has been in the biz for 30+ yrs. (WME, Sterling Lord, and then some.) She suggestd a few relatively easy revisions ("to begin with," she said) so I did those and sent it back. Had I been savvy, I would have asked for a time limit. But I'm not that smart, and I wonder how long I should wait. Three months? Six months? I've already emailed her once, and her reply was that "they" would get to it ASAP. I have no frame of reference for ASAP.

I just wish I could read her mind. What *is* a reasonable amount of time to wait for something like that?

04-13-2010, 10:25 PM
Ditto what Suki said.

I've been working on exclusive revisions with an agent since June 2009 (which included what I would call two and a half significant passes). We've agreed that this last one is "it", and he's on board with officially representing me. So once he signs off on this final draft he will send me contracts to sign and we will go on sub etc. It all took much much longer than a thought it would, but the book is also much much stronger than I thought it would be, so that's a nice trade off.

I suspect as you work with this agent it will become clear to you how involved they have been and how enthusiastic they really are for the work and hopefully you'll develop a relationship of sorts. As Suki said though, if things are not working out, or they are taking too long, etc., I think a polite, professional email asking them how much longer they expect exclusivity (or some such) is fair. But if you are interested in this agent try to be patient and remember that they have put in a lot of time with your ms as well (notes, re-reads, etc.).

As for time frames - in case it's helpful to anyone else going through this - and keeping in mind that all agents are different: My first set of notes (which were quite involved) took a brutal amount of time - almost two months to receive. It took me nearly three months to do that first revision and the agent read the new draft within three/four weeks but took another three to get me a second round of still quite detailed notes. That second pass took me a little under two months to complete, and he read the new draft within about a month. There was only one remaining sticking point in that draft and so the "final" draft only took about two weeks to turn around. I'm waiting for the (hopefully) final sign off now and it's been about two weeks...I expect to hear next week.

Good luck with your revisions - and I hope it results in a firm offer of representation! Let us know what happens.

04-14-2010, 06:47 AM
Thanks, myrmidon, for the details on how long it might take. Three months ago I would have exclaimed "Agonizing!" to that, but I told triceratops in another thread that I have learned patience from her in this agent-hunting process, and I'm prepared to wait this one out.

I expect to be toasting to you, hopefully very soon, *when* you sign. : )