1.13.2006

Exclusivity Still Sux

You've probably heard this question before. But as a writer eager to upgrade to the title of "bona fide novelist" -while I still have some of my youth- I need to know what's the worst that could happen if I ignore an agent's request to exclusively submit my entire manuscript to them?


Well, when they find out, they throw your manuscript away without reading it.

Or maybe they never find out and they make an offer to you and become your agent, and you're signing your first deal at the bar, and you mention it, laughingly, and your agent's face slackens a bit when she finds out you think that was ok.

I am not a big fan of exclusives. I don't ask for them. I don't think you should send stuff on an exclusive basis for longer than two weeks TOPS on a partial, or a month TOPS on a novel.

That said, if you agree to send submit your work to an agent who asks for exclusivity, and you don't honor that, it says something about the kind of person you are. Is it the kind of thing you want said?
Your choice.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My opinion (and I'd be the first to say I'm not an expert) is that as long as you're honest, the agent has nothing to complain about.

I have a critique partner who is now published, but when she was looking for an agent, she sent a bunch of queries out and got several requests for partials and fulls. Then she got a request from one agent-a very reputable high-powered agent-for an exclusive. Now this is the agent that my friend really wanted, and she could have lied and told her she'd grant the exclusive, but instead she was honest and told the agent she couldn't because a couple of other agents already had fulls.

Now the agent could have gotten mad and refused to look at the ms, but she didn't. She requested it anyway and read it in record time. Perhaps a week later, she was calling my friend to offer representation. And barely 2-3 weeks after that, my friend had a two book deal from a major publisher.

Honesty does pay.

I'm now in her position, looking for an agent. And I've found that as long as you're honest and professional, agents will work with you. After all, agents are people too (though I might not have believed that if I hadn't met a few in the last year, LOL).

Tsavo Leone said...

I think that what Anonymous said works providing that you're talking about a request for exclusivity (sp?) after the fact.

One can only presume that if an agent is really interested in your work they'll ask for an exclusive: if they're the only agent you've sent to, great, but (as I think Miss Snark stated pre-crapometer) there should be a pre-defined time frame for exclusiveness, after which it's open season again.

Anyway, aren't all authors honest? *g*