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Emerson Dell
03-21-2006, 11:11 PM
I'm seeking an agent for my novel (literary fiction). Last week I gave an agent exclusivity to read 5 chapters (50 pages). Next day agent #2--the one I most want to sign with--asked to see chapters and didn't ask for an exclusive. I told #2 someone else was looking at it exclusively. She said to get back to her if #1 didn't work out. (A rave review of my novel from a best-selling author has created interest in my work.)
1. If an agent offers to represent me, can I ask him/her for a month?
2. During that month, can I show chapters to another agent?
3. Do agents offer representation based on partials?
4. Do I have to turn down #1 before letting #2 see my work?

Perks
03-21-2006, 11:15 PM
I can't help you with your answers, but I'll keep an eye on this thread out of interest. What a great problem to have! I hope it turns out the way you'd like. Congrats!

Emerson Dell
03-22-2006, 01:17 AM
Thanks, Perk...I wrote #1 today to ask how long it will take to respond after reading my 5 chapters. Hope I haven't offended him...it's hard to know when I'm going to come off as a responsible business manager of my writing and when I'm going to seem a pest!

Julie Worth
03-22-2006, 01:23 AM
I'm seeking an agent for my novel (literary fiction). Last week I gave an agent exclusivity to read 5 chapters (50 pages). Next day agent #2--the one I most want to sign with--asked to see chapters and didn't ask for an exclusive. I told #2 someone else was looking at it exclusively. She said to get back to her if #1 didn't work out. (A rave review of my novel from a best-selling author has created interest in my work.)
1. If an agent offers to represent me, can I ask him/her for a month?
2. During that month, can I show chapters to another agent?
3. Do agents offer representation based on partials?
4. Do I have to turn down #1 before letting #2 see my work?


Do you really like #2 more than #1? A lot more? I think you risk getting everyone annoyed if this is not handled right. In any case, you should never give open-ended exclusives, esp. for partials. Most agents don't ask for them, as it's totally unfair to the author.

Daughter of Faulkner
03-22-2006, 08:45 AM
The agent I signed with asked for three weeks and got back to me in about two. The others I dealt with over the last year ALL wanted exclusives and hardly anyone got back to me in the time promised--one month. My point is that if an agent is really interested and LOVES your work, either the phone will ring or an e-mail will pop up as soon as he / she makes a decision or BOTH.

I would allow the first one you gave an exclusive read to have his time promised. Then, move on. But make it clear what time you are giving him to read, etc. Be kind but firm and professional yet brief. Don't whine or beg be confident and tell him what you need from him.


You can ask an agent for anything you want. Remember the agent is going to work for you and if he really wants you, he will work it out with you. I know people say an agent is SO busy however so are writers--writing.

Keep writing!
:e2BIC:

Best wishes to you.

Emerson Dell
03-22-2006, 06:22 PM
Thanks so much for the good information...Julie, your questions are great & helped me focus; no, I'm not THAT sold on #2, not so much that I'll turn down #1 if he offers a contract. You're right about open-ended exclusives on a partial, and that is a "live and learn" experience for me (had never heard the term "exclusive on partial" until 48 hours ago). Eileen, you indicate that you dealt with many agents over the last year. I assume that was in the course of searching for the representation you now have. So far, I've sent out 30 queries and have gotten 20 rejections quickly...then the great review (sent immediately to the last 10 agents), which prompted two agents to contact me. It's my fault (ignorance) that with agent #1 I did not settle with him on a length of time for his review. So I followed up yesterday with an email asking him how long he anticipates it will take for him to reach a decision. I'm learning. I'm in North Carolina, btw, Eileen--I see you have connections here. My novel deals with the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education, seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old as her family travels through the south in August of 1954 with their Negro domestic (a woman whose role in my novel is second only to the narrator). I'll certainly keep y'all posted on what happens re the agent situation.

Cathy C
03-22-2006, 06:42 PM
1. If an agent offers to represent me, can I ask him/her for a month?
2. During that month, can I show chapters to another agent?
3. Do agents offer representation based on partials?
4. Do I have to turn down #1 before letting #2 see my work?



Actually, #3 is the most important question. No, agents don't offer representation based on a partial. A partial shows you have PROMISE of a saleable book. But the plot could fall apart, or the characters might not be fully developed, etc., etc. So, the rest of your questions are moot. If Agent #1 asks for a full, THEN tell him/her that you need a month to "do one final pass for typos" and send the partial to agent #2.

Problem solved (until one of them asks for an exclusive for the full. Then you're back to the original questions.) But really, if you're questioning at this stage whether you want Agent #1 at all, you already have you answer. Don't sign on with an agent just to HAVE an agent. That will hurt both you and the agent in the long run. Without that initial level of trust and respect, a long-term relationship is nearly impossible.

Daughter of Faulkner
03-22-2006, 06:47 PM
Thanks for the tease with regard to the novel.

I know a fistfull of people over your way indeed and have been to Duke, UNC-Chappel Hill just everywhere in NC.

If you send me an e-mail, I will b e happy to pass a few agent names along to you that may be interested in your story / topic.

Have you any publications? Background? Synopsis?

:e2BIC:

Take care.

Emerson Dell
03-22-2006, 10:46 PM
Hey, y'all (southern for Hi, guys)...this morning I got turned down by agent #1, and I hope you'll believe me that it was a relief (this is NOT sour grapes). I didn't realize how much of a relief it would be till it happened. Just didn't feel that solidly good about that agent, and was delighted to be free to send it to #2. I emailed her & got an immediate response, "Please consider my willingness indicated. I'm looking forward to reading your work." She is not asking for exclusivity. My package of five chapters (51 pages) goes out to her via Fedex this afternoon. Now I am happy to wait at least a month, knowing that in the meantime I can communicate with any other agent who expresses an interest. Your counsel via this forum has been invaluable to me...thanks to all!!

Branwyn
03-22-2006, 11:21 PM
Good Luck!!!!

David McAfee
03-23-2006, 12:54 AM
Just out of curiosity, how did you get a best-selling author to review your work? Most author websites I have visited clearly say DO NOT send them anything or ask them to read anything you have written, because they don't have time.

Emerson Dell
03-23-2006, 12:58 AM
David, that's a good question, and the answer is I called her and asked her. Of course there's more to it than that...I first met her in the late 80s in a writing seminar. Have kept up a nodding acquaintance with her ever since, and she lives not far away. She's helped many beginning writers, and I felt that it wouldn't hurt to ask...the most she could do was say no. But she said yes; she first read a 30-page sample I was sending out, then said she wanted to read the whole thing. Her review is so wonderful that if I'd written it I would have been ashamed to ask her to sign it.

David McAfee
03-23-2006, 01:11 AM
David, that's a good question, and the answer is I called her and asked her. Of course there's more to it than that...I first met her in the late 80s in a writing seminar. Have kept up a nodding acquaintance with her ever since, and she lives not far away. She's helped many beginning writers, and I felt that it wouldn't hurt to ask...the most she could do was say no. But she said yes; she first read a 30-page sample I was sending out, then said she wanted to read the whole thing. Her review is so wonderful that if I'd written it I would have been ashamed to ask her to sign it.

Wow. Congrats on getting such a great review (and on having a knowledgable acquaintance in the biz). You won't mind if I turn a little green, will you? ;)

Congrats again, and best of luck. :Thumbs: