Is Anyone Else Reading This?

Here's a query question: when an agent asks for a partial and wants to know if any other agents are looking at the novel, how does the writer's response affect how they look at the work?

"Yes, I'm shopping this around right now" --
versus "I'm sending a couple of other requested partials to other agents but I'm not querying new people just now" --
versus "I've only sent this to you, you are my Dream Agent, and if you take me on I will give you this fluffy kitten"?

I mean, there's an obvious answer in terms of what to say -- tell the truth, and don't threaten with kittens. But I'm curious: does this information make you more/less likely to be interested, or make you review it faster/slower? I searched your archives, but I didn't see much about requested partials and the cover letters they love.

Probably because I don't request a lot of partials. I request full manuscripts. But, when I do, I ask if anyone else is reading it. And you're right: tell the truth and don't threaten with kittens.

I fully expect people send work to more than just one agent at a time. Sometimes I'm glad to see other agents are reading partials cause it confirms that I'm not the only one who thought the pages were good (not an isolated or irrational fear in this biz, believe me).

It doesn't make me read things faster, generally. I read in chrono order UNLESS I've got something really fun and juicy and fast and I read it cause I'm in the mood for that.

I advise AGAINST telling any agent "you are my dream agent" even if you think it's true. What you really mean anyway is that your novel is a good match for their list or their interests. It might just be me, but someone telling me "you're my dream agent" makes me a tad nervous. Especially if you are a guy. Ratchet down the smarm factor and go with cool, calm and collected.

I like the second choice best: "I'm sending a couple of other requested partials to other agents but I'm not querying new people just now"


G. Jules Reynolds said...

Thank you for answering. :-) I was second-guessing myself on whether I should have mentioned that there were other agents reading the partial or just said I was shopping it around. I'm very relieved to know I went with the better choice, number two.

TillyLost said...

So what do you do if someone asks for a manuscript, but you've just sent it to someone else on an exclusive basis? Will the second person still be interested and willing to wait? Most of the (UK) agents I'm querying do seem to want exclusives on fulls.