11.16.2005

Exclusivity Sux

A Snarkling gnashes her fangs

I guess to get an agent you have to learn the unspoken rules. I had a partial requested a few weeks ago by an agent at (big name agency). Yay me, right? She explained to me that she only considered material on an exclusive basis. As I had not submitted any other partials at that point, I assured her the submission would be exclusive. She allowed me to email my partial,
synopsis and bio, double bonus. I knew she was getting it right away. After two weeks, I had received a couple more requests for partials. So I emailed her, and told her that I appreciated that she was considering my material, and I hoped she would continue. I explained to her that I'd received a couple more partial requests, and would like to send those out, but that I would continue to await her response on the material before making any definite decisions. She emailed me back and informed me that she only reads on an exclusive basis; and since I was allowing other agents to read she would not be considering my material. And good luck to me. So what's up with that? I mean the email she sent me indicated that she hadn't even begun to review my material. So how long did she expect to have it exclusively- a couple months, so she could read it while bored on a holiday vacation? I realize that agents are super busy and it takes time to get to all those partials. But to tell me to piss off, just because I am interested in getting published this decade? That seems incredibly harsh to me, and I was wondering about your take on it. I've sent out two more partials, so I'm not out of the game. I just think that agents should realize that, unless their offering concrete representation, we need to continue to exhaust our resources. I mean, they have tons of clients, but we only get one agent. And we need an agent before we can proceed! So time is somewhat of the essence. And how much time is standard for an exclusive read anyways?

First of all, you may have seen "oh good I don't have to say no" in action. Agents hate to say no. We have to do it a lot so any opportunity to say no without actually uttering the word is welcome. Thus, she seizes on your email, "misreads" it and is saved a rejection. That's my first guess.

My second is she read the email in 1.2 seconds, and in fact DID misread it and figured you were a nitwit who couldn't follow directions.

Here's your error: you didn't establish how long she had your partial on an exclusive basis. You do this UPFRONT, before you send it. She should offer a time frame, and if she doesn't, you ask how long she wants it and decide to say yes or no. (no negotiating, sorry).

A partial should be on exclusive for no longer than two weeks. C'mon, it's fifty pages, anyone can read it on the train, at lunch, or while you're on line at the damn DMV.

Exclusivity sux. Some agents can get away with it cause they are in such high demand. That doesn't make it any less sucky.

1 comment:

AzGhostWriter said...

I wouldn't worry so much about this agent. At least she rejected you in a backward type of way. Heck, I can't even get an agent to reject me. I have to do it myself...:-)