Hi Miss Snark,
I'm presently in the amazing position of having several offers of representation for my commercial fiction project. Cue heavy gin drinking! I'm ecstatic. However, my buzz is slowly wearing off now that I realize that I actually have to CHOOSE among these fabulous people who actually want to sell my work. I've spoken to plenty of people who have told me the right questions to ask and echoed that "I should go with my gut." (Right now, my gut is telling me nothing other than I have no idea how I'm going to do this!)
I'm curious, though, about the other end of this situation: how agents receive the news that you're going with someone else or even that you need to weigh your options and get back to them (within a very reasonable amount of time). For some reason, I feel like I owe these people something, even though I'm reasonably sure that they wouldn't give a second thought to most of their rejections.
You only owe them the courtesy of fairly prompt reply.
Do NOT tell them how close the competition was, or how hard it was to choose.
You're not Martha Stewart and this isn't The Apprentice 2.
No notes telling us we just didn't fit in but good luck elsewhere.
Thank them for their time and consideration. Say you're electing to go with another agency.
Sincerely yours, badda bing badda boom.
Don't agonize. This happens all the time.