I came across this statement recently at agentinthemiddle.blogspot.com by a NY literary agent in the biz for 20 years with more than 2000 titles sold (according to his/her own description). Answering some questions for a new client:
"4. When will I get the Author/Agent contract, and how?
I work on a handshake."
I am somewhat flabbergasted by that. Also by the statement that titles go out to AT MOST 15 publishers. What do you think?
A lot of very good, very reputable agents, agents you'd be WELL advised to work with, work on a handshake. I don't see it as a problem at all.
And if these guys can sell your book by sending to only 15 places, who am I to argue? I've sold many a project on fewer than 15 submissions.
Results are what count.