Dear Miss Snark,
I never in a million years thought I would be the one to bring this up, but I have stumbled upon a great dilemma. I recently signed with a small, but reputable publisher. However, today I received a letter in the mail from Uber Agent asking for a partial for the same story. Since I have already signed, I know the story is no longer on the table, but how do I tell this to Uber Agent without burning any bridges? I would love to have Uber Agent in my corner, but I know that I can't with this particular manuscript. (I queried her LONG before the publisher, but the publisher replied first.) Please, any suggestions would be helpful.
Needing Tact...And An Agent,
Pre-printed postcards saying "You Snooze, You Lose" probably don't qualify as the kind of tact you're looking for but then again...
You write Agent Snoozabelle and say "I sold this to Publisher Alacrity on my own but I'd still like to work with an agent", and send the partial.
Agents do more than sell work. You're smart to have not said "oh darn" and tossed the letter.