Dear Miss Snark,
How do you explain a delay in submitting a partial to an agent who requested one, when the delay is the result of granting an exclusive to another agent? I don't want to say: "As soon as this other guy rejects me...." I'd also like to avoid lying and pretending I didn't see the email until the exclusive is up.
What's a reasonable thing to say that doesn't make me look like a consolation prize?
All together now: "exclusives stink".
Ok, I feel better.
Best way is just not to mention it at all. When you get a request for a partial you don't have to respond that instant. Unless you are on Page Six and a special prosecutor is preparing to hold hearings about your novel, there's not much that won't wait a week or even two if you must.
Second way is to respond and say the partial was requested on an exclusive basis and you'll send it as soon as you can. Be assured most of us are aware there are other agents looking at stuff.
What we do NOT need is chapter and verse: who asked, how long they want, you'll send it the second they say no.
And don't worry about making us feel like second choice. So few writers have any clue about who is a good agent, or a good match for their work or how to pick one, that every time someone says "my dream agent" I want to smack them.