More on exclusives...#3 topic that will not die

Dear Miss Snark,

Post Crapometer, I inserted my (much improved) hook into a query letter and sent it out to ten agents. Agent A responded quite promptly with a request for my full. I was VERY excited. I sent the full out a tenth of a second later. I remain VERY excited.

But what am I to do if Agent B requests my partial/full? Can I send it to her? No discussion of Exclusive Look v. Non-exclusive Look ever occurred with Agent A, so I have no idea what’s okay with him. I want to act in way that is both nice and professional. I don’t want to piss anyone off. What do you advise?

Send your ms, full or partial, to everyone who asks. If an agent asks for an exclusive (boo! hiss!) you explain other people are reading it and you'll be glad to send it if s/he would like to read it knowing that.

If you get asked for an exclusive, it's up to you, but do make sure there's a time window clearly understood and it's SHORT. I don't give more than a week to EDITORS who have cash in their reticules, so you shouldn't be giving agents much more than that.

I've said it before, I'll say it again:

Exclusives Stink.


Anonymous said...

During my query hunt, one agent I was particularly interested in requested a 4-week exclusive on my full. I couldn't give it to her because I had other partials and fulls out. Plus, I think exclusives stink. The agent read the full anyway and offered representation.

Anonymous said...


BernardL said...

Thanks for the agent time frame clue. Some put four to six months on their submission guidelines, but they've never taken more than a few weeks to send me my SASE form letter. :)

Anonymous said...

I've heard so many stories of writers who agreed to open-ended exclusives--and months later, were still waiting to hear back. Given how slow the querying process is, no agent should be allowed to hold your manscript hostage indefinitely. That's just ridiculous.

jeff resnick said...

Any consensus these days if queries are going out via snail mail with the standard SASE, or are emails easier and more popular?

MWT said...

Jeff: It depends on the agent. You should do whatever they say they prefer.