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Mystic Blossom
06-08-2007, 02:53 AM
I have a manuscript out with an agency, and after waiting several months on a reply, I finally got one, asking for more details about the manuscript itself. Who else has read it, what they said, who is reading it now, etc. They seemed, to me, to be asking for the story of the manuscript's life. I've spoken to several friends and family members about this. Some think it's good, others think it's weird, and still others think it's probably good but also weird. Is this normal for agents to do? Does anyone know of a reason the agent might be doing this? Should I be nervous? Excited? Should I just move on with my life and think about other things while I wait for yet another reply? I haven't heard anything back yet after sharing the details with them (no privileged information, just general comments from a couple editors), but in their e-mail they said they had started reading it, ran into problems (without telling me what those problems were), and would wait to read more before continuing. I don't know what point of the story they were at.

Anyway, I'd love some feedback on this, as I'm really curious to know what this might indicate.

James D. Macdonald
06-08-2007, 03:27 AM
The agent doesn't want to resubmit the work to a press that's already rejected it, and wants to know if anyone is looking at it right now.

Perfectly normal.

Tish Davidson
06-08-2007, 03:28 AM
It is normal for an agent to want to know if anyone in the industry has already seen the manuscript. Agents don't want to send a manuscript to a bunch of places if you or another agent has already shopped it around and been rejected. The rest, however, sounds kind of weird. I've never known an agent yet that didn't want to form an opinion or a manuscript on their own, so I don't know why they would want to know what others thought of the story.

Have you checked out this agency on the Bewares board and with Preditors and Editors?

KCH
06-08-2007, 03:29 AM
Agents like to know where it's been for good reason. A manuscript already shopped and rejected by the houses she thinks would be a good match cuts the potential for a sale. Agents spend a lot of time working up their pitches and proposals, and it's unpaid time for them. Spending that time when an editor has already rejected it is completely wasted. Plus, it makes them look foolish. After pumping up the editor on this absolutely must-have, fantabulous literary masterpiece, the editor looks at it and says, "I rejected it last spring." *Splat*

The fact she's asking you about it tells me she's considering your ms seriously. Congrats!

Julie Worth
06-08-2007, 03:39 AM
Probably your ms is getting close to the top of the pile, so they're touching base with you to find out if:

(1) it's still available
(2) if you might be so foolish as to tell them that yeah, six other agents read it and they rejected it because...

If you tell them what the agents (or editors) said, they might be able to reject you without reading it. So I'd just thank them, saying that the ms is still available, and, if it's out with several other agents, I'd say that. But I wouldn't tell them what the agents said, and I wouldn't name anyone (except publishers). They can always ask these things, doesn't cost them anything, but you're under no obligation to tell them.

As for this being normal practice, I've found it to be quite rare. Ashley Grayson asked me this, and maybe one other.

Namatu
06-08-2007, 03:53 AM
They don't really need to know who's seen your ms or what they said about it. Reply, but unless you're saying "yes, five publishers have seen it," there doesn't seem - to me - to be a need for great detail.

Mystic Blossom
06-08-2007, 07:44 AM
Well, it's been rejected by one publishing house, but they've agreed to read it again. Besides the editors of the publisher, the only other editor who read it was a freelance one who I had take a look at it. I mentioned all this to her, and it was awhile ago, so I do suppose that no news is good news.

Scrawler
06-08-2007, 08:27 AM
I had an agent request a full and also wanted to know the MS's history, and which (if any) publishers I'd approached directly.
As for asking who is reading it, I take that to mean they'd like to know if there are 10 fulls currently being read, and/or if there is anything pending. For example, if another agent is currently reading/pitching it and said it's been short-listed with Publisher X, another agent might not want to start anything with you. I wouldn't take what they've said to mean repeating "nice rejections" from other agents though.
Good luck :)

Stijn Hommes
06-08-2007, 01:57 PM
Well, it's been rejected by one publishing house, but they've agreed to read it again. Besides the editors of the publisher, the only other editor who read it was a freelance one who I had take a look at it. I mentioned all this to her, and it was awhile ago, so I do suppose that no news is good news. There's no need to tell them which agents it has been with, but if only one publisher rejected it but are agreeing to read it again, I see no reason not to tell that to the agent. That would hardly cut their potential editor pool.

Jamesaritchie
06-08-2007, 07:19 PM
There are two sides to this. Agents do not like to handle manuscripts publishers have already seen. Well and good.

But if you submit to big publishers on your own, odds are high that no one very high placed ever saw the manuscript. If an agent really likes a manuscript, he may well take this into account.

justpat
06-09-2007, 06:42 PM
Sounds like a good sign to me. Be happy. (as long as the agent isn't on any of the scammer lists) which you can check here http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22