Dear Miss Snark,
Thank you for the great advice and entertainment that your blog provides.
Here's my question. I know that you said before that once a writer signs with an agent, she should notify the other agents who are looking at her work that the manuscript is being withdrawn from consideration, and this should be done in a timely manner.
I recently signed with a great agent, but I have not yet received my copy of the contract with the agent's signature. Do I wait for this to arrive before withdrawing the ms from the other agents, or should I go ahead and e-mail them? I'm the cautious type, and want to wait for my copy of the contract, but I also want to let the other agents know asap that the work is no longer available to them.
This isn't virginity. You can do it again if it doesn't go well the first time. Email the agents straightaway. If the agent you sign with has a mental breakdown, enters a convent, or gets crowned Miss America without sending you a contract, you can always go back to the first runner up.
Remember however, I'm an agent. I'm very very biased about reading stuff and suddenly finding out you've signed with Miss Fabulous over on Mad Ave. I usually ask if anyone else is reading something when I ask for a full and I know I'm taking my chances if I don't jump on it right away, but man oh man I hate those "sorry, Snarky" emails right AFTER I read all 400 pages of your masterpiece.