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carol h.
02-13-2007, 05:54 AM
How honest do we need to be when agents ask for an exclusive on a partial or a whole? I've got a bunch of queries out, and now some requests for partials and even a few whole manuscripts are coming in, and some of the agents want exclusives for 2, 3, 4 weeks. It's like when you couldn't simultaneously submit stories to literary magazines, and editors kept them so long you only got to submit a particular story once or twice each academic year. That policy changed, and maybe this exclusive-manuscript one should too. I'm worried that if I hold back and send the ms just one at a time, the agents will lose interest and it'll be summer before I know it, when the whole industry slows down. On the other hand, I don't want to be put on some secret blackballed bad-sport list! Has anyone else wrestled with this problem? What do you advise?

giftedrhonda
02-13-2007, 05:02 PM
You can tell them you're unable to grant an exclusive at the moment, but you'd still love for them to read your ms...tell them you do promise not to make any final decisions without consulting with them first. For most agents, this should suffice--I only had one agent flat-out refuse, because she only takes exclusives.

During the entire time I was querying, I didn't give any exclusives, though I did have agents request it. I simply responded the way I listed above, and all was well--they usually said that was fine.

Jamesaritchie
02-13-2007, 05:42 PM
How honest do we need to be when agents ask for an exclusive on a partial or a whole? I've got a bunch of queries out, and now some requests for partials and even a few whole manuscripts are coming in, and some of the agents want exclusives for 2, 3, 4 weeks. It's like when you couldn't simultaneously submit stories to literary magazines, and editors kept them so long you only got to submit a particular story once or twice each academic year. That policy changed, and maybe this exclusive-manuscript one should too. I'm worried that if I hold back and send the ms just one at a time, the agents will lose interest and it'll be summer before I know it, when the whole industry slows down. On the other hand, I don't want to be put on some secret blackballed bad-sport list! Has anyone else wrestled with this problem? What do you advise?



Would you want to do business with someone who lies to you right off the bat?

I don't for the life of me understand why some writers think exclusives are bad things? Which do you want, a bunch of rejections, or a good agent to represent you?

There's nothing at all wrong with magazines who don't take simultaneous submissions, and this policy has not changed at most of the good magazines. And there's nothing at all wrong with an agent asking for an exclusive. The problem is with writers who somehow think they'll get where they want to be faster if they don't grant exclusives. It's nonsense.

Mae
02-13-2007, 05:47 PM
You can tell them you're unable to grant an exclusive at the moment, but you'd still love for them to read your ms...tell them you do promise not to make any final decisions without consulting with them first.

Sounds like a good compromise to me.

carol h.
02-13-2007, 06:13 PM
Thanks, Rhonda, that's the middle ground I was looking for!

Julie Worth
02-13-2007, 06:40 PM
Here's another discussion on exclusives: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44602

aka eraser
02-13-2007, 07:21 PM
I'm going to port this over to our Ask the Agent board.

DeadlyAccurate
02-13-2007, 07:35 PM
I don't for the life of me understand why some writers think exclusives are bad things? Which do you want, a bunch of rejections, or a good agent to represent you?

Miss Snark (http://misssnark.blogspot.com/) said it best just the other day:


I believe they are a bad business practice and are clear demonstrations an agent thinks their time is more valuable than yours. I think it's the sign that an agent is lazy and not willing to make a persuasive case for signing with them. Harsh, but true.

If you send me something and I want you as a client, I don't get you because I refused to let anyone else look at the ms. I get you because I was persuasive about the merits of Snark Central.

I have a great agent, and she didn't ask for an exclusive. The best agents should have the confidence to know they don't need exclusivity to pick up good clients.

Kristen King
02-14-2007, 05:27 AM
How honest? Completely honest. Like Rhonda said, "I can't give you an exclusive because it's already out, but I'd love for you to take a look at it anyway if you're willing." You don't have to give them all the details, but don't lie. That's just a really bad idea, you dig?

kk

carol h.
02-14-2007, 07:46 AM
Thanks for the link, Julie, that was very helpful.