First rights of refusal

Dear Miss Snark
What on earth does an agent mean when she asks "for first refusal on representation for a month after receiving it." Is this just another way of asking for an exclusive reading? Help me out here because I've never heard anything phrased quite this way.

Thank you for being there to ask.

It means you can keep sending stuff to other agents for consideration but you can't sign with any of them until she says yes/no.

It's like a half-exclusive. I haven't seen this before but there's no end of the ways us agents try to keep you from signing with our competitors.

This doesn't keep your work on hold like an exclusive would, and it doesn't have the force of a legal agreement and don't forget, just cause she wants you doesn't mean you want her. Don't sign with anyone who tells you have to.


Anonymous said...

I know that such an agreement wouldn't be legally binding, but it still sounds very dodgy to me. I mean, if the writer decides (s)he doesn't want to sign with a particular agent after all, why on earth would that agent want to try and force them to become their client?

Anonymous said...

You might want to have her send a copy of her agency contract and talk terms of representation now, since she's asking you to agree now. I found an agent who started with the request for exclusivity and ended up sending a contract that read like the National Writer's Union's list of Clauses To Avoid. Suddenly making it look like no agent at all was actually better than her.

Anonymous said...

In my query I avoid mentioning that I'm sending to other agents, and don't promise an exclusive. I figure the first one to offer me representation (after deciding we can work together) gets the nod. If it's the exclusive...that's fine, too.