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popgun62
09-20-2011, 07:37 PM
An agent that is currently reading my manuscript had his assistant ask me the names of the other agencies that are currently reading my manuscript. I was just wondering if anyone can think of why an agent would want to know that? Thanks for your help.

Cyia
09-20-2011, 08:13 PM
They could be checking to see if you've got interest, or even to make sure the others are legit.

IceCreamEmpress
09-20-2011, 08:15 PM
It's perfectly OK to tell them you don't feel comfortable sharing that information. I would.

Drachen Jager
09-20-2011, 08:16 PM
Probably to gauge whether he could win a bidding war, should one arise. I gather agents are getting a bit more competitive with each-other these days, often 'fighting' over authors.

popgun62
09-20-2011, 08:28 PM
Thanks for the input. I was a little perplexed.

Jamesaritchie
09-20-2011, 09:09 PM
They want to know who the competition is, and gauge how long they have to reach a decision. It's natural to want to know, and a good reason to reject if the writer doesn't share.

leahzero
09-20-2011, 09:15 PM
They want to know who the competition is, and gauge how long they have to reach a decision. It's natural to want to know, and a good reason to reject if the writer doesn't share.

I've never heard of that happening. Do you have a source, or are you just speculating?

@popgun: It's totally fine for you to tell the agent you don't want to share the information. If they reject you for that reason, would you really want to sign with that agent in the first place? A good agent will want to represent you based on the quality of the book, not on whether/which other agents are interested.

popgun62
09-20-2011, 09:18 PM
Thanks. Definitely something to think about.

Parametric
09-20-2011, 09:20 PM
They want to know who the competition is, and gauge how long they have to reach a decision. It's natural to want to know, and a good reason to reject if the writer doesn't share.

That's a terrible reason to reject a writer.

Mclesh
09-20-2011, 09:27 PM
What if, similarly, you have several fulls out. One agent offers; you notify the other agents of said offer. Do you tell the other agents who made the offer so they know it's from a legitimate source, or is that considered bad form?

Kasey Mackenzie
09-20-2011, 09:31 PM
The agent I ultimately signed with did inquire which agent made the first offer, but I took that in the spirit it was intended: A. she wanted to make sure it was a reputable agent rather than some sort of scam artist for my own protection; and B. authors actually MAKE UP offers to try and inspire greater speed in agents.

If an agent is asking that before making an offer, however, I'm going to assume they're a "bigger-name" agent who probably wants to gauge if he or she has much competition and should thus put your query up on the front burner rather than the back burner. This is just a guess, however.

I had no problem sharing that information with my eventual agent, and I don't think I'd have a problem sharing it with an agent who asked before offering, but I'm not 100% sure. I know that's not very helpful, right?

Kasey Mackenzie
09-20-2011, 09:34 PM
What if, similarly, you have several fulls out. One agent offers; you notify the other agents of said offer. Do you tell the other agents who made the offer so they know it's from a legitimate source, or is that considered bad form?

Personally, I would only tell them who made the offer if they ask, but that's just me.

Mclesh
09-20-2011, 09:39 PM
Personally, I would only tell them who made the offer if they ask, but that's just me.

So don't volunteer. Sounds like a good policy. Thanks!

(Sorry, Popgun62 for piggybacking onto your thread. Forgive me.) :)

IceCreamEmpress
09-20-2011, 10:38 PM
They want to know who the competition is, and gauge how long they have to reach a decision. It's natural to want to know, and a good reason to reject if the writer doesn't share.

Nonsense.

Telling them how many agencies are currently reading the full is information that's helpful to them; telling them which agencies they are gives them no helpful information.

If an agency would reject you for this, you don't want to work with them. And I've never heard of it happening; it certainly hasn't happened to me.

popgun62
09-20-2011, 11:17 PM
Thanks for all the great info! Any agents that want to chime in, feel free :)

Stacia Kane
09-21-2011, 12:47 AM
Yeah, for the reasons Kasey mentioned, it's common for them to ask once you have an offer.

I wouldn't necessarily tell who had my fulls until someone made an offer, but I would absolutely tell the offering agent who else had it, and of course if you're telling other agents that you have an offer you'll want to tell them who made it so they know you're not making it up. And once you've chosen one you tell simply because there's no reason not to; it becomes a matter of record, really.

I didn't volunteer names, no. And again, I wouldn't just tell who else had the full until I had an offer--the offering agent (who became my agent) asked, and I told him, and frankly was pleased I did, because his gracious and complimentary comments about his colleagues made me like him even better.

When it comes to offers I'd honestly kind of wonder about an author who wouldn't give the name of the offering agent; I'd assume they either were making it up or were going to be so cagey as to be difficult to work with. The author/agent relationship is based on trust and openness, after all, and it's not like who the author goes with in the end won't be essentially a matter of record. It's an agent, not your social security number.

JMO.

IceCreamEmpress
09-21-2011, 12:57 AM
Offers are different than submissions, I agree! What could possibly be gained, though, by an agent knowing the names of the other agencies reading submissions? I'd love to see an agent explain what's up with this.

cate townsend
09-21-2011, 03:23 AM
It happened to me. A very well known and reputable agent asked for the names of others who were considering my manuscript (those with fulls), and I provided the names of the agencies, but not specific names. If you want the name of the agent, PM me.

Susan Littlefield
09-21-2011, 05:01 AM
I have not been to this point in my submission process yet, but I would give the names of the agencies reading my work. I don't understand why there would even be a qualm over it. However, like I said, I have not gotten this far in the submission process yet so I'm pretty much learning too. :)

Lady MacBeth
09-21-2011, 07:01 AM
I also had this happen to me. I gave the number of agents who were reading the ms, but no names.

eastcoastgal
09-21-2011, 08:25 PM
When it comes to offers I'd honestly kind of wonder about an author who wouldn't give the name of the offering agent; I'd assume they either were making it up or were going to be so cagey as to be difficult to work with.

Exactly. Ginger Clark made a similar observation (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/10/guest-blog-ginger-clark-on-how-to.html) in a guest post at Nathan Bransford's blog. She lays out her reasoning very neatly.

Not sure about asking for other agents' names before offers are in; I might give that information, I might not. I did have to tell an agent I couldn't offer exclusivity on a partial because the full had already been requested. She was fine with that so the question of names never came up, but if she had asked who the other agent was, I likely would have told her.

popgun62
09-22-2011, 12:25 AM
I gave them the agency names for the simple reason that I saw no reason not to. I was just wondering why they would ask before an offer was made. I'm hoping that it means they're interested!

lenore_x
09-23-2011, 08:37 AM
Someone, I think Rachelle Gardner, said she likes to know because she doesn't want to put in time and energy to prepare to make an offer only to have the author say, "Oh, sorry, I signed with so-and-so!"

Twizzle
09-23-2011, 03:02 PM
[QUOTE=Stacia Kane;6566120

When it comes to offers I'd honestly kind of wonder about an author who wouldn't give the name of the offering agent; I'd assume they either were making it up or were going to be so cagey as to be difficult to work with. The author/agent relationship is based on trust and openness, after all, and it's not like who the author goes with in the end won't be essentially a matter of record. It's an agent, not your social security number.

[/QUOTE]

It's still my privacy, which I value highly, and it puts me, the writer, at yet another disadvantage for no good purpose. I've no problem providing names after the fact, but there's no way they need to know names during the process. Period. (And why is standing up for having privacy and an advantage considered difficult to work with in the first place???? They're insisting on taking the advantage and violating my and their fellow agent's privacy? It used to be called being a good self-advocate, esp in business.)

:Soapbox:

It's a sensitive subject for me. I got burnt TWICE, and a few agents burnt themselves. (The top agent on my list had asked for names. When I told him who, he said, "Oh, well then. I'll just drop out. He's good, we're friends, and I don't want to get in his way." Then he hung up. But. Wait. NO! Then one unprofessionally smacktalked the offering agent. Pass for you, dear agent. And another, she heard I had an offer, and molested and berated my good friend publicly for the name. It was the single most unprofessional thing I've ever seen. Then, I once saw two agents publically tweeting each other about a writer when that writer shared who'd offered. Nice.) So, yeah. No more offering up of names for me prior to signing, thanks. (Though. Dear gawd, please never let me be in a position for that to happen again, thankyouverymuch.)

Also. I'll fully admit, it gets my panties in a bunch when I hear the "just trying to protect you" and "make sure you're not lying" excuses. It's so insulting.

They can wonder about me all they want. But I'm a professional. I don't care what numbnuts have done before me. If you even suspect I'm unprofessional enough to not do my research or tell the truth, you should not be offering, never mind reading. Agents are not parents. They're fellow professionals. I treat them with respect, so I like to be treated w respect.

And I value my privacy.

If agents are Good, they don't need the advantage of knowing. It's not necessary then. And if they want to sign professionals, then they shouldn't be thinking of offering to anyone they can't trust, esp to query professionally.

And no, James. No one rejected me for not sharing. Quite the opposite.

*climbing down off soapbox*

Sorry. But it does. It gets my panties in bunches.

ETA- A good agent post on why other agents shouldn't ask--http://agencygatekeeper.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-handle-yeah-well-who-offered-you.html

Giant Baby
09-23-2011, 04:47 PM
...And another, she heard I had an offer, and molested and berated my good friend publicly for the name. It was the single most unprofessional thing I've ever seen...

Outing myself. Twizzle downplays the experience. Like an idiot, I revealed the name, being greener and more easily intimidated than I am today. I had no business doing so. Turned out, the agent had a beef with the offering agent, and went off on me very publicly in a hotel lobby teeming with writers, agents, and editors. This agent is very well-respected.

Never again. Having the friend whose reputation you've just destroyed (in the eyes of that agent, anyway) have to talk YOU down in a hotel parking lot is not a pleasant experience. Fortunately, Twizzle is a rock star and our friendship didn't suffer. I'd like to concede that this could be an isolated incident, but it simply isn't. I know this from personal experience beyond the story I've just recounted. It's a small industry, people talk. People have friendships and beefs. I would decline to answer, respectfully.

Twizzle
09-23-2011, 05:19 PM
Fortunately, Twizzle is a rock star and our friendship didn't suffer.

Kettle. Pot. Margaritas.

xoxoxo

As if.

Sure. We've both downplayed, and excluded, stuff here. I feel bad for even publicly ranting on the topic. I feel bad for singling out Stacia's comment. I respect her immensely. (It's just that it's representative of this prevailing belief.) I respect most agents, and the industry. But it does, it just twists my knickers in tight little knots and I cannot not.

There's nothing inappropriate in protecting your self-interests or privacy in business, or asking people to trust in and respect your competency and professionalism. You can say no, thank you, and it doesn't have to mean you're difficult or untrustworthy. You should never fear respectfully standing up for yourself or your interests. It might mean you go with a different agent (or none) but that's not a bad thing necessarily, either.


I'd like to concede that this could be an isolated incident, but it simply isn't.

QFT.

IMO, the sharing of offering agent names should be done-w other writers and those in publishing who can discretely fill you in, and those In The Know who can tell you if there's anything neg (or pos) you need to know about them before signing. But not w other considering agents.

popgun62
09-23-2011, 07:09 PM
Thanks for the great advice. We can all learn from each others' bad experiences.

J.Reid
10-08-2011, 05:28 AM
I ask all the time. For starters, I do want to make sure it's real. Second, if I'm going to woo you on with I'm better faster strong smarter meaner juicier and just really your BEST choice, I want to know who my fellow pitchers are.

If you don't tell me that's fine. I'm not going to reject you for it.

But if you don't tell me, and I don't sign you and you sign with a douchecanoe, I won't feel quite as sorry for you.

On more than one occasion a writer has mentioned who was interested in publishing their book and I directed them here to AW for information--the only way I can ethically steer someone clear of a ne'er do well is simply pointing them to where they can get info.

So, yes, I ask. And if that's a problem for you, well, better we find out early.

popgun62
10-08-2011, 06:58 AM
Wow, thanks, J. I was hoping to hear from an agent. I appreciate that.

Mr Flibble
10-08-2011, 03:04 PM
the only way I can ethically steer someone clear of a ne'er do well is simply pointing them to where they can get info.


/derail

Is anyone else amused by the thought of sharks biting their tongue?

/end derail

Obviously, from what Twizzle is saying, it doesn't always work as professionally as one would hope. However, much as Twizzle wants to be respected as a pro, I suspect the agent does to, and I assume they are until proven otherwise (like...publicly tearing someone a new one just because a particular agent has offered. Whoah). If I assume they are pro (and I wouldn't be querying them otherwise, right?), then I should say who's offered if asked. If they throw a wobbler because of some personal beef, well that's a good reason I suddenly wouldn't want to work with them. Best to know before you sign.

I've been asked, and I said. Turned out the asker (the lovely Jo Fletcher) had decided to decline but wanted to make sure I wasn't getting diddled.

Bottom line: You can only control how professional you are.

Nonny
10-08-2011, 05:12 PM
Outing myself. Twizzle downplays the experience. Like an idiot, I revealed the name, being greener and more easily intimidated than I am today. I had no business doing so. Turned out, the agent had a beef with the offering agent, and went off on me very publicly in a hotel lobby teeming with writers, agents, and editors. This agent is very well-respected.

Wow. That's pretty insane. :shock:

On the other hand, that might just have been a bullet dodged. As much as something like that sucks, I would much rather find out then than after I signed -- because I would imagine someone who is a loose cannon enough to rip into someone at full volume in public likely has problems in other areas, too.