Exclusives are a lazy ass way to do business

I've been aggressively querying my novel and in the past week have responded to three request for partials. Today I received another request for a partial where the agent requires an exclusive for as long as she has my material under consideration. It's a reputable agency that I would be pleased to do business with.

Of course, I cannot pull back the three partials that are already out. So should I just sent the partial to the "exclusive" and refrain from sending anymore queries or material until I hear back? And what if one of the partials that is out comes back with a request for a full while the exclusive partial is still on that agent's desk. I know I'm getting ahead of myself because it may turn out that none of them request a full, but I want to be prepared.


Actually, you can pull the partials from consideration. All you have to do is email the agent and say "thanks but I'm withdrawing from consideration". The real question is do you want to do this and the answer is a resounding no.

Exclusives stink.
Open ended exclusives stink more.

Asking or requiring an open ended exclusive is the mindset of an agent stuck in 1973.
Given one can receive a manuscript electronically (even those of us who don't take equeries do take things electronically) reading 50 pages, or 300 pages in less than a week something any of us can do with one eye tied behind our back. And we WILL for a project we REALLY want. To ask an author to tie up his/her work on open ended terms is disrespectful and counter productive. It's also a lazy ass way to do business.

You can't provide her an exclusive read and you shouldn't. If she doesn't see the merit of that, why would you want to work with her?


Anonymous said...

Before I signed with my agent he asked for an exclusive. I told him I was not able to do that, considering the partial had already been submitted elsewhere. He had no problem at all because I had been upfront all along about my multiple submissions.

If this agent is a jerk about not being able to give an exclusive, then you might want to reconsider working with her anyway.

McKoala said...

Nice position to be in! How about a compromise if you love this agent so much?

Dear Miss Agent, thank you for your enthusiasm for my work. Unfortunately I cannot offer you an exclusive arrangement as three other agents are already considering the first few chapters of my novel. However, given your interest, I would be happy to refrain from sending out any further partial or full manuscripts for the next week, while giving you the opportunity to read the complete manuscript.

Kind of exclusive and kind of lighting a fire under her posterior at the same time. I assume that she will bite if she is really interested.

Would this work, or would it offend?

NL Gassert said...

A publisher I submitted to requested exclusivity on queries! Not partials. Queries! I mailed in mine with a polite note that I will happily grant exclusivity when he/she requests the full manuscript.

Lorra Laven said...

If it's an open-ended exclusive, the agent has no reason to read it in a timely manner since, if you truly honor the exclusive request, he/she knows there is no competition.

I fell for that a while back - with a very respectable agency - and they didn't read it for four months and then they said, "Not for us. Sorry for the delay."

My advice: Don't do it!!

Termagant 2 said...

I'm 100% on the same page with everyone else. In my book, NOBODY gets an exclusive unless they've already read a partial & request the full. And even then it wouldn't be open ended; it'd be 3 months and I'd so state in my communication to them.

But then, I don't have a hot list of agents I'd like to work with, so right now I'd consider 'em all pretty much the same...unknown quantities.


Anonymous said...

Nah, don't do the exclusive. Write the agent, tell them you can't give them an excusive and do they want to see the ms. anyway? Chances are they'll say yes. (Nothing sparks interest in a ms. like more interest.) This has happened to me more than once.

Anonymous said...

I know several writers who granted exclusives to agents with time limits attached. Did these agents get back to the writers in the promised four/six weeks? Nooo. When the writers contacted the agents, did they receive any sort of response? Nooo. (And these are reputable agents from big-time NY agencies.)

I say phooey to exclusives.

Anonymous said...

I just did what anonymous #1 did--told the agent who wanted a full with an exclusive that I couldn't do so in clear conscience because another agent had already requested the manuscript. The reply. "OK, send it when you're ready to give me an exclusive read"

So, they don't all see the other requests as enticing.
It'll be a while before I send an agent an exclusive.

Anonymous said...

An agent recently asked me for an exclusive. When I e-mailed that three other agents were already looking she said that she never reads in competition.

Another one also asked, but eventually said that she would read the partial even though others were looking. That was January, and I haven't heard from her since. Three months to read a ms I can understand, but to read three chapters?

I just signed with an agent who asked for the full right off. She didn't mention an exclusive - and she got back to me in only six weeks. I'll endorse the general sentiment here: don't give exclusives.