Welcome to Talkback!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Literary Agents and Exclusives
  • I would really appreciate any advice please.
    Two weeks ago, I was suddenly dropped by my agent (I won't bore you) and my writing confidence took a real hit. My husband and friends encouraged me to start submitting my latest novel again and ten days ago, I got a Full request from an agent.
    Then this afternoon, another agent emailed me, saying she enjoyed my submission and would be delighted to read the Full, but that the agency only read on an exclusive basis.
    I replied back, attaching my Full and confirmed that the first agency still have my Full but haven't yet got back to me and that I promised not to submit my Full to any other agents whilst she was considering it.
    She didn't give any indication of timescale for reading my novel exclusively, so I just wondered how long you think is reasonable to leave it, before following up with her?
    I had a look on the web and some writers seemed to think a couple of weeks for an exclusive read was reasonable, whilst others said to allow a month and then follow up if there is no news.
    Any advice would be appreciated as the last thing I want to do, is blow any chance I might have!
  • 4 weeks isn't long.
  • LizLiz
    What I mean is, if the other place contacts you and says, yes we'll have it, she already knows they have it, and 4 weeks isn't long to let her have it. Then send it off somewhere else.
  • Thanks LIz, that sounds like a plan! X
  • Hi the London book fair is coming up agents tend to disappear into that for a week or more then there's easter so might be a little bit longer than normal perhaps?
  • Hi All,
    Well, just a quick update....
    Just recently, I was suddenly dropped by my agent (I won't bore you) and my writing confidence took a real hit. My husband and friends encouraged me to start submitting my latest novel again and two weeks ago, I got a Full request from an agent.
    Last week, another agent emailed me, saying she enjoyed my submission and would be delighted to read the Full, but that the agency only read on an exclusive basis.
    I replied back, attaching my Full and confirmed that the first agency still have my Full but haven't yet got back to me and that I promised not to submit my Full to any other agents whilst she was considering it.
    I did ask her for a rough indication of timescale for reading my novel exclusively, but she didn't say and there is no indication on the website.
    Then, lo and behold, I've just had a third request for my Full this afternoon, but have had to explain to this agent that I can't currently submit my MS to her, as it is out on an exclusive, but would she be prepared to wait for now, until I get clarification from exclusive agent?
    I then dropped exclusive agent a brief, polite email explaining that I have just received another Full request but have obviously not submitted as I agreed to exclusive arrangement and could she give me a rough idea when she might be able to get back to me?
    Still nothing.
    I have never had an exclusive request before - does anyone happen to know rough timescales for this sort of thing and if they have gone through a similar situation? I am starting to get a bit stressed with it all!
  • ClaudiaClaudia
    Hopefully someone with experience can give you an answer, Bookworm. But it seems remarkably rude that the agent asking for exclusivity hasn't replied to your e-mail. If I was in your shoes I would get on the phone, because, after all - this might be someone you're going to establish a relationship with... a relationship which should be on an equal footing.
    Having said all that - it's just my opinion and I could be wrong - but I hate how UK writers are always told to beware of being 'pushy' as if they are somehow inferior to publishers, editors and agents.

  • I know Claudia - you are right!
    I suppose I'm just a bit apprehensive about ringing her, as we are always told not to and I'm worried I could end up blowing it but I am sorely tempted to phone.
    The first agent who asked for the Full (not an exclusive) emailed me last Friday, to say she would be on holiday for a week but would be back at work this Monday and she would contact me when she gets back.
    I'm just not sure where I am with Ms Exclusive...I did wonder if she was on holiday as well or out of the office.
  • CarolCarol
    Bookworm13, have you researched Ms Exclusive?

  • heatherheather
    Did Ms Exclusive say she was OK with it already being out as full elsewhere? I wonder whether she would just put it to one side until she knew it really was exclusive. Depends on what she actually said of course!
  • I imagine she's waiting for the first agent to finish with it and won't read it until then, if she only reads on an exclusive basis?
  • Thank you all - yes I did research Ms Exclusive. She is a new agent and has only been at this well known agency a few weeks.
    Apparently, she has just one author on her books at the moment and is looking to build her list.
    What I find so awful, is that I have emailed her twice , politely asking if she would read it as only one other agent currently has it and she hasn't even responded!
    Another agent has since asked for the Full and I have sent it to her.
  • ClaudiaClaudia
    Good for you! Ms Exclusive doesn't deserve your loyalty.
  • Thanks Claudia - let's see what happens...! X
  • Afternoon Folks.

    Well, just when I think the literary agency world can't confuse me any more, something else happens...
    Remember how I emailed Ms Exclusive, #agent 2, twice with no response? Well, just under two hours ago, I received this email from her (below).
    It is in complete contrast to her original email but hey-ho....

    "I hope you are well, and thank you for keeping me up to date as to the status of your submission.

    After much consideration and discussion here, I have decided that unfortunately I don’t think the manuscript is quite right for me. I love your protagonist and think that the plot is original, but I just didn’t fall in love with the story enough to be able to do it justice. We only take on a handful of new writers every year, and think that it is only fair that we love their manuscript as much as the author does in order to be able to pitch it to publishers."

    TBH, I think the fact that it was out to a couple of other agents on Fulls and I confirmed that I couldn't grant her an Exclusive, has well and truly put her off, as her comments are the total opposite of what she told me a few weeks ago.If that is the case, I think it is best all round. No flexibility there at all and terrible at responding to a simple query.

    As for #agent 1, she has just e-mailed me to say she is reading my Full over the Easter weekend and will be in touch early next week (she has had my Full for a month.)

    #Agent 3 has had it now for a week but I haven't heard anything back yet.

    Keeping everything crossed.....!
  • Keith
    I've loved hearing your experience of agents. I'm sorry to hear your news from Ms Exclusive (but wonder how efficient she is if she can't respond to your emails). My fingers are crossed that 1 or (and!) 3 come up trumps...
  • CarolCarol
    Fingers crossed for agent 1.
  • Thanks Keith.
    I'm trying to keep busy reading and writing. If I don't, I'm going to spend the Easter weekend fretting!
  • Thanks Carol. I don't know sometimes how us authors cope with all this!
  • ClaudiaClaudia
    As Keith said - it's great to hear about your experiences with agents and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of them comes up trumps for you.
  • Thanks Claudia - I'm trying not to get my hopes up! X
  • Hi Folks,
    Hope you are all busy writing! How are things with you all?
    Well, a quick update from me - basically nothing has happened so far!

    #Agent 1 e-mailed me a week ago, to say she was reading my Full over the Easter weekend and would be in touch early part of this week....but I haven't heard back from her.
    As for #Agent 3, she has had my Full for almost two weeks now but I haven't heard back from her either.
    Doubts really setting in now! :(