PDA

View Full Version : Querying Other Agents When...



mbowman
03-23-2012, 06:00 AM
So, I have an R and R with an agent right now. Unfortunately, the agent is notorious for being incredibly slow on communication--she's a lovely person honestly, but she said she wanted to "start a conversation" on some changes to my novel, and I never heard back. This was over a month ago.

Combine that with fears that I'll spend a year or more working with her only to get rejected, I quickly sent out four more queries to agents to make myself feel like I was doing something to further my writing career. The agent is one of the nicest people I've ever worked with, but I'd rather not put all my eggs in one basket and waste months waiting on one agent if its not going to work out in the end.

Now I'm worried if doing it was the right thing. The agent with the R and R never asked for an exclusive, but do I have to tell the agents I queried that I am currently in a R and R process with another agent?

Well, it probably won't matter in the end--my track record with queries is so bad, knowing my luck, they'll all end in no-reply or form rejections anyway. I'd just like to know if there is anything about this sort of situation I need to mention to other agents if they do ask for submissions.

Undercover
03-23-2012, 06:23 AM
You're doing the right thing, I think. You shouldn't just rely on this one agent. You're in it for the business, not to make friends or promises. Waiting is the most crucial thing in the business. The more agents that see it, the better your chances. Just don't do too many and get into a bind. In batches is a good idea. I also wouldn't make a ton of revisions for every agent wanting an R and R. You only should mention an offer to the other agents if you get one. You're under no obligation to tell them otherwise. If you do get an offer, you're also free to ask the remaining agents if you want a better offer or counteroffer.

So yes, I would keep querying. I just threw mine out there to a ton and got a lot of interest and a lot of full and partial requests and a lot of rejections too. But I also got an offer eventually and also notified the other agents interested, and some replied and some never got back to me. It's who's got the most interest in your work and that you feel comfortable with too that really matters/

Good Luck with it!

kellion92
03-23-2012, 07:01 AM
Agree with Undercover -- great advice. You gave her a month exclusive, unasked, so that's more than enough. Keep going while you wait for the "conversation" she mentioned.

RKLipman
03-23-2012, 07:27 AM
I think ideally all of this would be laid out in the first discussions you have regarding an R&R (but hindsight and all that) but I agree with the others - if the agent in question did not utter the words "exclusive, please" you're under no obligation to provide it.

Matt Walker
03-23-2012, 02:50 PM
This probably sounds stupid, but what's R&R? I've never come across that before!

Anyway, it's usually fine to query multiple agents, but if they request a full they'll usually also request exclusivity, which is understandable.

lauralam
03-23-2012, 03:21 PM
Revise & Resubmit

I had an R&R but she said I was free to come back for it if I didn't click with another agent, so I kept querying. This business is subjective. You might do well to have a R&R with this agent, but you might end up finding another who doesn't have the same reservations.

RKLipman
03-23-2012, 06:06 PM
Anyway, it's usually fine to query multiple agents, but if they request a full they'll usually also request exclusivity, which is understandable.

Bolding mine, for emphasis.

This is NOT true at all. Most agents do will not expect exclusives on fulls. Some will try to get them from you - you're not obligated to give it. A select handful of agents only want exclusives, but I avoid those like the plague.

Exclusives do not benefit the writer. Ever.

They exist, but they're not as standard as this comment makes them out to be. Don't expect them, and don't offer them without serious consideration.

Matt Walker
03-23-2012, 06:55 PM
Bolding mine, for emphasis.

This is NOT true at all. Most agents do will not expect exclusives on fulls. Some will try to get them from you - you're not obligated to give it. A select handful of agents only want exclusives, but I avoid those like the plague.

Exclusives do not benefit the writer. Ever.

They exist, but they're not as standard as this comment makes them out to be. Don't expect them, and don't offer them without serious consideration.

I'm only going on what I read in From Pitch To Publication by Carole Blake (of Blake Friedmann). She is one of the UK's leading agents.

popmuze
03-23-2012, 07:14 PM
Bolding mine, for emphasis.

This is NOT true at all. Most agents do will not expect exclusives on fulls. Some will try to get them from you - you're not obligated to give it. A select handful of agents only want exclusives, but I avoid those like the plague.

Exclusives do not benefit the writer. Ever.


I have been rethinking my position on this ever since I've had seven fulls sitting with agents who requested them for anywhere from six to nine months. If an agent ever asks me for an exclusive (and if they gave me a reasonable time frame to read it, say a month or less) I would definitely go for it. The only problem would be with the seven agents who are (not) reading my current WIP. It seems ridiculous to notify them that I'm giving another agent an exclusive. On the other hand, they have yet to technically reject the manuscript.

waylander
03-23-2012, 07:51 PM
I'm only going on what I read in From Pitch To Publication by Carole Blake (of Blake Friedmann). She is one of the UK's leading agents.

She is, but 1) the book is several years old and practice has evolved 2) she is in the UK, there are differences between UK and US agents and this is one of them

Matt Walker
03-23-2012, 08:19 PM
Fair point, Waylander.

Old Hack
03-23-2012, 09:12 PM
You're not in a position to give anyone an exclusive right now, as the agent you're working with is considering your ms. Don't mention exclusives at all as you query further. If anyone asks you for one, tell them you're unable to help but if they're still prepared to read your ms you won't accept representation from anyone else without letting them know you've had an offer, and giving them a few days to catch up at that point.

If they do then read your ms and make an offer, you're under no obligation to accept their offer, but you will have given them what they want--time to consider your ms knowing that if they do want to offer, they won't then find out that they've wasted their time because you've already accepted representation elsewhere.


A select handful of agents only want exclusives, but I avoid those like the plague.

Exclusives do not benefit the writer. Ever.

They exist, but they're not as standard as this comment makes them out to be. Don't expect them, and don't offer them without serious consideration.

I agree that one shouldn't offer exclusives without careful thought, and that they don't (usually) benefit the writer, but I wouldn't avoid agents who require exclusives just because they require exclusives. Some fabulous agents are in that group and so long as those exclusives are appropriately time-limited they aren't too onerous.


I'm only going on what I read in From Pitch To Publication by Carole Blake (of Blake Friedmann). She is one of the UK's leading agents.

I'll tell her you said that. She'll be very pleased although she might quibble at that "one of". Ha!


She is, but 1) the book is several years old and practice has evolved 2) she is in the UK, there are differences between UK and US agents and this is one of them

The book is over ten years old and I think is in its twelfth printing, but a new edition is being written. Despite parts of it being very dated now it's still the best description I've read about how publishing works, and I know a lot of publishing people who still refer to it. Don't dismiss it just because it's a few years old.

RKLipman
03-23-2012, 10:38 PM
I agree that one shouldn't offer exclusives without careful thought, and that they don't (usually) benefit the writer, but I wouldn't avoid agents who require exclusives just because they require exclusives. Some fabulous agents are in that group and so long as those exclusives are appropriately time-limited they aren't too onerous

I just get antsy when people a bit too anxious to jump at every possibility of an exclusive without really understanding what they're getting into.

I agree that done right they aren't too onerous, but I personally avoid them as a matter of preference.

Richard White
03-23-2012, 10:40 PM
Hack,

Is that the Carole we're following on Twitter? (I suspect it is, but thought I ought to verify.)

Old Hack
03-24-2012, 01:25 AM
If the person you're thinking about works 18 hours a day, is partial to a glass of chilled Sauv Blanc, and likes her shoes, then yep. That's her.

Richard White
03-24-2012, 02:48 AM
That would be her, yep.


If the person you're thinking about works 18 hours a day, is partial to a glass of chilled Sauv Blanc, and likes her shoes, then yep. That's her.

lauralam
03-24-2012, 02:53 AM
Yeah, I couldn't do exclusives because I started my querying by giving my MS to an agent that requested it via Twitter DM. But no one asked for one, either.

But I can now say my querying is over! Hurray!