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STING
10-14-2015, 05:32 AM
(Sorry about the spelling mistake in the title.)

Some agents say on their websites they understand writers making simultaneous submissions. They only want you to notify them when others have shown serious interest in your work. But what do you make of those who want you to tell them right away whether you are submitting to others?

writersworkshop.co.uk says it’s ‘good manners’ to admit that you are making multiple submissions but cautions: ‘. . . manners don't always get the fastest results. Up to you.’ Would appreciate comments.

Aggy B.
10-14-2015, 05:56 AM
That just means that if they know someone else is looking at it, they may not be as eager to jump into the fray. Doesn't mean they won't look at, but some agents do like to know they are getting a "first" look at a MS. And some agents will look at the MS (or at least the opening pages) more quickly if they know there is other interest. It just depends.

I had a few who wanted to know if I had any full requests out with other agents. If they asked for specifics, I told them specific names. Otherwise, I just added a line to my general "Here is the MS you requested" email that said "This is currently under consideration elsewhere."

I also had one agent who wanted to look at the MS, but only if she were the only one looking at it. Since I couldn't give her an exclusive she told me to get back to her if everyone else passed. Which wasn't really appealing to me. I can understand asking for an exclusive, but if you are interested then you are interested. Don't tell me that you'll look at it later if no one else is interested. :P

Obviously, much of this is a case by case thing. If you do what each agency is asking for, you should be fine.

STING
10-14-2015, 06:12 AM
That just means that if they know someone else is looking at it, they may not be as eager to jump into the fray.

The tone of the words on one agent's site indicates she means more of this. Am wondering whether I'll keep her to the last.


I had a few who wanted to know if I had any full requests out with other agents. If they asked for specifics, I told them specific names. Otherwise, I just added a line to my general "Here is the MS you requested" email that said "This is currently under consideration elsewhere."

Thanks. This is something else I was wondering about.



I also had one agent who wanted to look at the MS, but only if she were the only one looking at it. Since I couldn't give her an exclusive she told me to get back to her if everyone else passed. Which wasn't really appealing to me. I can understand asking for an exclusive, but if you are interested then you are interested. Don't tell me that you'll look at it later if no one else is interested. :P

But when you get back to Agent B saying Agent A no longer has interest in it, would it be less appealing to Agent B?

Aggy B.
10-14-2015, 06:40 AM
That would depend on the agent. I know from experience that one agent may love the very thing another agent hates. So Agent B's interest shouldn't be severely effected by Agent A passing on the MS. While they do like to compete sometimes it really boils down to your book - is it good, is it what they're looking for.

Personally, I would be a little wary of someone who was only interested in my book because they thought someone else was. You want an agent who will not give up if the first few editors pass on it. They need to love it because they love it. Doesn't hurt if they want to make an offer first, but you should want someone who is interested in the book on its own merits.

MandyHubbard
10-14-2015, 07:14 PM
That just means that if they know someone else is looking at it, they may not be as eager to jump into the fray. Doesn't mean they won't look at, but some agents do like to know they are getting a "first" look at a MS. And some agents will look at the MS (or at least the opening pages) more quickly if they know there is other interest. It just depends.




Of all the agents I know, about 1% want exclusives. The rest of us accept simultaneous submissions not only as the norm/default, but encourage it on twitter/interviews/conferences/etc.

Aggy B.
10-14-2015, 08:15 PM
Of all the agents I know, about 1% want exclusives. The rest of us accept simultaneous submissions not only as the norm/default, but encourage it on twitter/interviews/conferences/etc.

Out of the 180+ agents I queried, only one asked for an exclusive. But about half of those that requested material wanted to know if someone else was looking at it (to the point of asking to be informed if someone else requested after they did), and about half of those seemed to want specific names.

The one who wanted an exclusive clearly didn't want to be in a position where she could be pressured by other offers. (Which sounds sort of like the OPs quoted guidelines.) The others who wanted to know if anyone else was interested seemed to want to know if they should be putting my MS at the top of the TBR pile.

It's just my two cents on why an agent might be asking about others interest.

STING
10-14-2015, 09:53 PM
Thanks Aggy B. I hope I was clear in my first post. I was talking about a few UK agents preferring the query itself (covering letter, synopsis and sample chapters) to be exclusive. I understand that it's not uncommon -- or is it common? -- for agents to ask for exclusivity when it comes to the submission of full MS after the initial offering.

Aggy B.
10-14-2015, 10:48 PM
It's more common with MSs than queries, although not in the authors best interest unless there are very clear time limits on the exclusive period.

So, if you're talking about a query, I would consider sending to those that want exclusive first look first, but add a line indicating that you will be continuing the query process in a reasonable amount of time. (Whatever seems reasonable to you and be specific - two weeks or whatever.)

Fruitbat
10-15-2015, 12:50 AM
I'm sure customs vary some between places, genres, years, and who knows what else. But in my own experience, agents are not usually expecting exclusives at the query stage. So rather than it being "good manners" to spell it out to them that your query was not exclusive, it might just come across as a bit clueless.

But of course if that particular agent's stated guidelines specifically state that or anything else, then I would either follow their guidelines or cross them off my list, for that round anyway.

Jamesaritchie
10-15-2015, 06:48 PM
That just means that if they know someone else is looking at it, they may not be as eager to jump into the fray. .

My experience is exactly the opposite of this. Knowing another good agent or editor is interested in looking at a novel most often means you take a faster, more enthusiastic look, not that you don't want to jump into the fray. It's just good business. It's how you find the next Harry Potter, rather than letting the other agent find it.

I wouldn't trust and agent or an editor who didn't want to look at something after learning that someone else with a knack for finding quality is interested.

Both the good business decision, and the natural human reaction, should be, "Well, hell, if they're interested in this thing, maybe I'd better take a fast look at it. They're good at finding money, so if there's something there, I need to beat them to the punch."

noveler7
10-15-2015, 11:54 PM
Personally, I would be a little wary of someone who was only interested in my book because they thought someone else was.

Sadly, I've heard this isn't uncommon. Some agents even admit that agents can be like sheep, and follow what others are interested in.

STING
10-16-2015, 05:00 AM
Thanks for the quick and informative replies. I am glad I asked the question.

Cricket18
10-16-2015, 05:30 AM
I can't be sure, but I think it was Janet Reid who once said that she always assumes other agents are reading.

As to the above reference about sheep, I'd liken it more to sharks and blood from my experience. ;)