Pub Rants

Success That Hurts More Than Helps?

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STATUS: Finished a deal for a current client today. Perfect timing because she can spend the weekend celebrating.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WATCHING THE WHEELS by John Lennon

We’ve all heard the adage that common sense isn’t so common, right? Some days I really have to wonder.

Let’s say for example that you are an author who has received several requests for your full manuscript. This is great, right?

But let’s say the agent requesting the manuscript is old-fashioned and has asked that you snail mail it to him/her.

I’m thinking it’s not the best idea to the email the new requesting agent and brag about X number of agents who have already asked you to email it to them and can you do the same for this request.

I’m thinking disclosing that you are widely popular with the agents might hurt more than help. I’m thinking that the agent who made the latest request is changing his/her mind about giving your work a look.

Not that this is based on a true story or anything.

Now I think it’s perfectly okay to ask if you can email it instead, but I don’t think I would mention that 30 other agents (or pick a number) have already requested it.

Seems like common sense but that’s just me.

TGIF folks!

56 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    “I’m thinking that the agent who made the latest request is changing his/her mind about giving your work a look.”

    Why? Because it sounds like you’re bragging? While I don’t think bragging is polite, wouldn’t it expedite the process if the agent knows they’re not the only reader?

  2. Sophie W. said:

    I think (think!) what Kristin means is that this agent obviously doesn’t want to get emailed material at all, so you’re essentially sending bad news in a no-no way. In my experience, this tends to piss people off.

    Then you need to take into account that mail should take no less than a week to get from here to there, and a week is not that much time in publishing. You should take at least that much time to mull over the which-agent-for-me decision.

    Enclosing a polite, brief note saying, “FYI, this material is being reviewed by so-and-so at such-and-such” along with the manuscript shouldn’t be a problem.

  3. Linnea said:

    I don’t like it. It would get my back up if I was an agent. Trying to force me into doing things their way instead of the method I prefer and for which I probably have very good reasons.

  4. Anonymous said:

    Another reason the agent might not decide to have a look – see Kristin’s post from yesterday. If you’re the agent and can’t live with the thought of not repping this book, then it may entice you to read faster.

    If you were on the fence, or you’re already swamped with 10 contracts, or your client roster is bulging, you may think, I’ll pass because: Someone else may do a better job; I’m already overextended; I wasn’t in love with the concept; they might sign with one of the 30 other agents after I spend six hours reading.

  5. Anonymous said:

    “Discussing that you are wildly popular with agents might hurt more than help…”

    I don’t get this post at all.

    You’d rather only read a partial that no other agents want? You don’t feel like competing with other agents at the moment? You’re not in the mood to offer a quick read, or get the ms. read before other agents?

    Somebody enlighten me.

    When I was serching for a new agent I queried the one I really wanted and several others I thought might be a good fit. I ended up with my original choice, but got the book read a heck of a lot faster because when one agent offered me representation I was able to email all others and ask where they were with the book. Had they read it yet, etc…

    Some said they wanted it, a few others bowed out and wished me heartfelt good luck.

    Maybe I’m confusing Ms. Nelson with Miss Snark? You know, query widely?

  6. The Home Office said:

    Frankly, I think a lot of agents whine too much about what tough gigs they have. I KNOW authors whine too much about how tough we have it.

    There was a simple solution, if the writer wanted to get the manuscript in the agent’s hands quicker: Print off a copy, run it to a post office/FedEx/UPS location, and overnight it. Yes, it’s a pain. It sounds to me like this author, who wanted so desperately for an agent to represent him/her, wanted it on his/her terms.

    It doesn’t work that way.

  7. Anonymous said:

    This is a little off topic but here goes anyway…How long do you usually take to read a requested manuscript sent in by one of your clients? I get the sense that you are swift to deal with client’s work. Am I right?

  8. LindaBudz said:

    I’m thinking it had a lot to do with the tone of the email … there is a right way and a wrong way to communicate that your ms is under review by other agents.

  9. Educator-To-Be said:

    Quite an interesting blog, especially for an outsider.

    May I send you my manuscript for “Gone With The Wind–Part II”? Just a joke (and a very bad one, I’m afraid).


  10. Anonymous said:

    Other agents, Stephen Barbara for one, say they want to know if they’re in competition with other agents. Kristin, you just finished saying that you like to be given the courtesy of the time to read a ms before an author accepts another offer. If you happen to be the kind of agent who only takes fulls by snail, then that’s a handicap when all the other agents who might offer are accepting email. Sounds like the author is trying to extend you the courtesy of allowing you to read it at the same time as those other agents. It sounds like bragging to you that the author has others interested? To me, it sounds like a hot property and the author wants to give you a chance to get in on it. If you don’t feel like competing for whatever reason, just say so.

  11. Angelle Trieste said:

    Unless there’s an offer on the table (either to pub or to rep) there’s no reason to email an agent for anything unless he wants exclusive and you can’t give it to him. It accomplishes nothing. Actually it’s irritating because you’re trying to get the agent to do things your way.

  12. Anonymous said:

    Sorry I don’t get it. What’s the problem? I thought you valued communication? If the agent received her snail mail ms and offered representation, then found out another agent already offered weeks ago because of email, than the first agent would be pissed off about that too.

  13. Phoenix said:

    Kristin says it’s okay to ask if you can email it, so the issue isn’t doing things the agent’s way or your way. The issue is about whether to mention that other agents are looking at a full.

    Most agent guidelines I’ve read want to know if even a partial is a simultaneous sub. So I have to side with those people with uncommon sense. I see this as disclosure, not bragging.

  14. urbansherpa said:

    I have a question that’s close to this situation… I’m waiting to hear from four different agents who are reading my full ms. (Kristen not one of them.)

    One of the four just emailed that she is still considering the project and just thought she should ‘touch base’.

    I’m pretty sure she was checking to make sure I hadn’t already signed with someone. But I didn’t know whether to tell her it was with three others or not.

    I decided that saying that might unduly influence her one way or the other. So I just thanked her for checking in and told her I looked forward to hearing her comments.

    Way I right or wrong (technically)?

  15. Anonymous said:

    urbansherpa, I think you did just the right thing. After all, if an agent really wants a project, he or she will drop everything and read it right away (Miriam Kriss read Rachel Vincent’s submitted manuscript in something like 6 hours after receiving it–the info is on the author’s Web site). You deserve to be with the agent that recognizes the merits the fastest, without any prompting.

    Best of luck to you!

  16. Imelda said:

    My apologies if this comment comes through more than once – the comment function seems to be playing up

    I think there are two points here. One is that manners are always good and bragging is never good manners.

    The other is the TIMING of when you tell an agent that others are interested. If you have an offer on the table (from another agent, although it also goes for publishers), then it is absolutely the thing to do to tell your other prospects that you have a concrete offer. Then they can decide whether to hurry up or pass but either way they will appreciate you not wasting their time.

    But if all you have is people looking, you want to keep your options as open as possible. Before they have even read the full is not the time to suggest that Agent A should get with the program and do things your way or they might miss the boat. They might decide that it is a boat they can do without.

    In urbansherpa’s case, I don’t know what is right or wrong technically, but it sounds as though you responded to her good manners with equally good ones, so go you. If someone else comes in with an offer, you can inform all of those who haven’t so they have the opportunity to put in a claim – and inform first agent that you are doing that!

    I don’t know about common sense, but I do think common courtesy, both personal and business, goes a long way, even in the idiosyncratic world of publishing

  17. Anonymous said:

    I like your blog and your ideas, but I really don’t agree here. I had a friend in much the same scenario and when she told the querying agent she had more than one request, the agent immediately dropped her like a hot potato.

    While all this can be “justified” from the view of the agents, from the author’s point of view the situation is straight forward. An agent was interested but when there was even the hint that she wouldn’t have total power over the situation — i.e. she might have to compete — her response was good bye.

    As Miss Snark said, authors are basically powerless to start with. It seems unbecoming to be for agents to be vindictive about it as well.

  18. Anonymous said:

    Anon 6:11–

    Amen to that! It is a power thing. Plus, I see mixed messages here. Agents want to know if any other offer is on the table, but they don’t want to know if anyone else is looking? I don’t get it.

    My agent never knew that there were others interested, even though there were two others with offers on the table. Now, I wish I’d said something. Maybe then, my agent wouldn’t think she can walk all over me.

  19. Anonymous said:

    I think the question extends further than manners and lack of power. No agent wants to feel used and abused. It sounds like some people shop their manuscripts around to a large number of agents, get an offer from someone who is truly interested at first, and then the writer is taking that offer to get the agent THEY feel they want more. First agent who made the offer is left in the cold, having invested her time and effort to what end? Surely, no agent wants to feel they were used for leverage only, which may be why some insist on exclusives.
    It’s easy to spot bad manuscripts and good manuscripts. The ones in between that an agent feels show potential (to him) are the ones that require a judgment call or expertise on behalf of the agent.
    If a writer has a “hot property” (which we all hope we do) and knows how to present his work, I don’t think there’s any problem getting an agent.

  20. tessa said:

    Anon 6:11, I think it’s dependent on the agent. It may not be a power thing, just a time thing.

    This is why agents must pay attention to their clients first. They are making 15% of what they generate for their clients. That’s their income. They make 15% of nothing if they spend their time reading something they don’t even end up representing.

    Maybe that agent can’t afford to possibly waste their time. This is why reading fees are acceptable in the U.K. for legitimate agents. At least they recoup the time they invested, or a portion thereof.

  21. Anonymous said:

    I’m guessing it may have been the tone of the email that rubbed Kristin the wrong way.

    But, knowing that tone can often be taken the wrong way in an email, I think Kristin shouldn’t be so hasty to dismiss this writer.

    Why? Well, he/she is making a smart suggestion in my eyes. I know of a writer who had her work requested via email by several agents and one wanted it by snail mail. Well, my friend did exactly as this person did, and asked the agent if email would be ok, because she had a few others looking at it via email. The agent said no.

    Her loss, because my friend received offers from 4 agents and her book sold at auction.


  22. tessa said:

    Anon 9:51,
    you’ve just proven my point! The agent knew she had a one in however many chance of finding a new client. Odds of placing a first book are small to begin with, but then if a number of other agents are already looking?

    Who can afford the time? Who wants to “bid” or compete against other agents for a manuscript that may be totally wonderful, but may not sell? For what? The slim chance that the agent’s won the sweeps? The agent doesn’t get paid until they sell.

    I also don’t understand why someone would continue to submit if they have several agents looking already. Why waste more postage if you’re perhaps going to get an offer to rep you? Wait until that pans out or not.

  23. Anonymous said:

    To Anon 8:39–

    I don’t think querying a group of agents means you are “using” one agent to try to gain “leverage” with another.

    Querying several agents and having them interested means you can actually talk to them, on the phone!

    Oh my… You’ll learn a lot that way. What kind of edits do they expect you to do for the book? Do you agree with those edits? Are they polite or do they seem dismissive? Do you get a sense that they only want the book because they don’t want to lose it to another agenet, or because they really love it?

    That’s not using people, that’s common sense.

    If you’re only querying one agent at a time you’ll have a tendency to take the first one that offers you representation. Not a good idea.

  24. Linnea said:

    After reading a number of agent blogs for some time and seeing how truly subjective acceptance for representation can be, the shotgun approach to querying makes perfect sense. When a full manuscript is requested, my policy has been to forward the complete to one agent at a time making a note of their usual turnaround time. Once that time has been reached I email a follow-up asking for a response within a certain time frame. If I don’t hear from them I forward the complete to the next agent who’s made a request and follow the same pattern. Agents are like readers. Some readers gush profusely over my book and some think it stinks. I don’t know which agents will respond to my work and which agents won’t. I don’t know which agent I’ll be able to develop a good working relationship with and which I won’t. To my mind that means I want to treat all agents with courtesy and respect. Period. Doing things their way may mean we don’t work together but then we may not have worked together even if I’d insisted on doing things my way. I’d be very careful about biting the hand that might feed me!

  25. Dan said:

    I’m confused. Shotgun to me means all at once. Then you say one at a time. Clarify, please. It sounds to me like you’ve made a list of agents you think you could work with, then are sending the ms out one at a time. In order of priority? All at once?

  26. Alison_C said:

    I think you’re all missing the point here. The issue is NOT whether or not the mss is being looked at by other agents (that’s assumed), but rather the author’s ASSUMPTION that the agent wants the mss in a particular format.

    I can see the reasoning for asking for a mss via snail-mail. Reading querys and partials on a small screen is one thing, but fulls are much more difficult to handle in one sitting. As such, having an easily transportable mss that YOU CAN MARK YOUR PLACE in makes perfect sense to me. Plus, speaking from personal experience, reading from a paper mss more akin to reading a book than from a screen. The perception of story, pacing, and detail is different.

    However, in this case, it comes down to respect for the agent’s method of working. Fulls are read on the bus or train on the way home, in a comfy chair in a corner, or in other places that are not the computer screen, just as books are. IMO, an author should not snub an agent for preferring a particular medium for a full simply because “everybody else” wants it another way. The author should respect the AGENT’s method of reading and process and their knowledge of what works best for THEM. I

  27. Linnea said:

    Hi Dan,
    I meant the QUERY is sent out to a bunch of agents I might think will be interested – a letter, synopsis and maybe a partial. It’s when the complete manuscript is requested that I slow it down to one at a time.

  28. Anonymous said:


    What if the author goes ahead and sends the mss snail mail to the requesting agent, not mentioning anything about emailing it, then when should they disclose that other agents are looking at the mss?

    When an offer is put on the table?

    I always thought that it was common courtesy to let all parties involved know if more than one full is requested. Since most authors do multiple submissions.

    And seeing how a snail mail submission could hinder the latest agent when it comes to time, I thought it was considerate of the author to suggest emailing it. And how else would the author explain the request (of maybe emailing it) without spilling that other agents are looking at it too? And over nighting it may seem over zealous to the agent if they didn’t know the reason behind it.

    I think the whole thing is tricky when dealing with different agents, because one agent may precive things as arrogant, while another sees it as courteous.

    Is it better to leave all parties in the dark, and assume that since they (agents) requested the full that they figure others probably have too?

    Then only disclose that information when someone offers representation?

    Oh well, I guess the agents that state they would like to know if others have the manuscript will be informed and the others will be left in the dark…since telling them may seem like some sort of stategy.

    This excluding the ones who want exclusive submissions, even at the query stage. I guess those agents try to cut out wasted time from reading mss out that my end up being represented by another agent. So they decide that wasting an authors time would be the best solution. Since asking an author to an exclusive for 8 to 12 weeks then ultimately passing, when the author could have had other agents looking at it. In this case the author gets burned.

    I guess this is all about people not wanting to waste thier time.

  29. Anonymous said:

    I’m confused by some of this blog as well.

    I understand the whole respecting the agents form of choice, email vs snail mail part, but not the part about disclosing of others having your full.

    I’ve always read that agents would like to know up front if others had requested your full. That it was the professional way of handling it…being upfront with all parties.

    Could you maybe blog about this subject in more detail? Since so many of us are confused, when I’m thinking maybe this shouldn’t be.



  30. dan said:

    Thanks for the info, Linnea. So it ends with you allowing one agent at a time to read the full, so there’s no misunderstandings on the part of the agents.

    I have given exclusives on a full manuscript in the past, and I’d do it again. I gave it for two weeks. The agent in question asked for two weeks, and got back to me in one. I have no problem with that. I wouldn’t consider giving an open-ended exclusive.

    It’s about professionalism. What I’ve heard from a lot of writers seems to be enjoyment in “getting back” at agents in general because of their bad experiences, or because they’ve been rejected. It’s not worth it. Yes, there are some agents who are jerks. Most of them are professional and have a job to do. You have to maintain a professional demeanor as well.

  31. Anonymous said:

    To alison_c —

    Umm, the issue is that she didn’t want it rubbed in her face that the author had the manuscript out to 30 other agents, not that she was miffed by the author for asking if she could email it to her instead.

    (I don’t agree with that logic, but that’s not what I’m referring to in this post).

    Kristin LIKES electronic submissions. In fact, she doesn’t even accept snail mail queries. And for heaven’s sake, if K. Nelson wanted to read the manuscript in a print form surely she’s bright enough to PRINT out a copy from her compputer, isn’t she?

    Dear god, I hope so!

  32. Mystery Robin said:

    I’m totally confused too!!! And I’m addicted to agent blogs – I thought I knew the general protocol. My understanding was that you do let an agent know if other agents are reading, so that they can read faster if they want to, or at least have a heads up that there may be competition for the manuscript.

    I mean, I get that the author may not want it e-mailed, but isn’t it courteous to let them know several agents are reading right now and would they like the manuscript more quickly?

    I think we need a clarification post, Kristin!

  33. Linnea said:

    Just had another look at the ‘rant’ and it seems she’s bugged by the writer bragging about how many other agents want her manuscript, not that she’s asked to email the manuscript. Guess you had to read the correspondence. Likely carried a bit of smugness in the tone. I’m sure Kristin will clarify.

  34. Anonymous said:

    I thought the only time to let agents know about the fact that you’ve made multiple submissions to other agents was once you’ve have been offered representation. Otherwise, if the agents all pass b/c they don’t want to ‘compete’, and no one’s offered you representation, but they’ve all passed already, you’re screwed.

  35. YvonneLindsay said:

    Hmm, I’m probably just sticking my head out here but to me this all comes down to professionalism.

    Every agent has their own submission protocol, it’s up to the author to follow that protocol. If all you wanted was fast answers then you would only submit to agents who accept email, right? If you specifically wanted a specific agent (rather than dragnetting for any agent, which is what this ‘hypothetical’ situation shows to me) then you would be doing what that specific agent requested.

    We’d all like to think we’re the next best thing to hit the NYT Best Seller List but if you’re asking for professional representation then you need to behave in a professional manner too. Trying to coerce an agent to change their policy just because others do it differently doesn’t seem professional to me.


  36. Anonymous said:

    It might be worth noting that the exchange in question obviously didn’t happen to Kristin herself, because Kristin doesn’t take print submissions, only e-subs (so no one would have needed to e-mail her to ask permission like this in the first place). I’m guessing it was an agent friend who passed on the story.

    I’m also guessing it’s about tone–“May I please e-mail this to you, and just so you know, I have other fulls out with agents at present” is much different from “30 other agents have requested this manuscript and let me e-mail it, so I don’t see why you can’t, too”. 🙂

  37. bran fan said:

    So…writers have to read agents’ minds now? We have to figure out which agents will be angry if they’re told about a multiple sub and which ones are happy to know about a multiple sub?

    We can’t do it. No way. We can’t even target our queries very well. I sent multiple queries on my novel, and some of them were “long shots” while others seemed perfect for this manuscript. The ones who seemed perfect passed on it and one of the “long shots” turned out to be excited about the manuscript and a great agent too.

    So, we must query widely and we can’t always tell what’s the best way to behave in a multi-offer situation. Sometimes it will backfire. Oh, well. No reason for agents to get upset about it, just shrug and move on.

  38. Morgan said:

    I’m reading through the comments and understand both points of view. I can see how it can hurt and I can see how it could help. I think using the best judgment for each individual agent is the best we can do.

    But, there is a point where if you really want that agent to read your work, you need to do it THEIR way, not your way or how OTHER agents have been doing it.

  39. Dave said:

    I think the point here wasn’t so much telling the agent others had the manuscript, but more to do with the author’s response to the agent’s request for a snail mail manuscript.

    I saw it as the author saying essentially: “Email was good enough for all these other agents why isn’t it good enough for you?” I don’t see it being a problem with telling the agent you have other manuscripts out.

    Nobody likes to have their preferences attacked.

  40. Anonymous said:

    Actually, Kristin’s blog is more focused on how disclosing that x amount of agents have your full is not a smart idea.

    Yes, she mentions the author sent an email to the latest agent asking if she could email it rather than snail mail it, but her focus was on the bragging that went along in that email that turned off the agent…not the asking of different ms format.

    So the confusion comes in when she (Kristin)states ‘Now I think it’s perfectly okay to ask if you can email it instead, but I don’t think I would mention that 30 other agents (or pick a number) have already requested it.’

    Now, maybe 30 is an outragous number to put out there, if the author really did get that many requests, but you say ‘or pick a number.’ What if there’s 5 or 3? I know I’m hanging on numbers but really, I don’t get how there’s a problem disclosing other fulls are out there, unless your giving a number for leverage in some strange way.

    Would saying you have other fulls out be enough info to give the latest agent?

    But, some agents ask who else has it.

    Maybe this particular agent took it personal or something…I don’t know?

  41. sarah said:

    I don’t understand the rationale of mentioning that x amount of agents are looking. At all. I’d want an agent who wants to represent my work on its merits, not because they can rip it away from another agent.

    If agents are considering it independently and one out of five or ten offers, dontcha’ think that agent would have more invested? They LIKE the work. Otherwise, it’s just so much like kindergarten toy-stealing!

    And if an agent only wants you because someone else does, isn’t he only going to drop you if the editors don’t? I want someone to believe in me, not someone else’s opinion!

  42. beverley said:

    I don’t think the issue of the blog was disclosure to an agent, but how the disclosure was done. The author said 30 agents were interested. Usually when an agent asks if there is anyone else looking at your manuscript, you tell yes there are several (if it’s more than 2). To say 30 is just bragging. And then in turn to tell the agent, everyone else accepted an email instead of a hard copy is using that 30 number, to bash the agent over the head with just how popular that manuscript must be. I’m curious why someone who has 30 agents looking at a manuscript, really needs to make this kind of request of agent 31.

  43. Janny said:

    Why in the world would asking if an agent would take an e-mail submission be taken as an inherent criticism of the agent’s way of reading? Seems to me the author was just saying, “Hey, I don’t want you to get left in the lurch while all these others are going out fast. Is there any way we can speed this up?” Isn’t that COURTESY, rather than the opposite?

    And telling an agent that ___ number of other agents are also requesting fulls is “bragging”? Uh, no. Seems to me if we’re saying “Hey, this is working to this point for these people, how about you?” that’s not bragging. That’s communicating.

    If merely talking about where our manuscript is and what its status is is bragging, then no agent has a right to make public the information that they’ve signed a big client in front of all of us that they haven’t signed. Under some folks’ definition of bragging and manners, that, too, would be “rubbing all our noses” in the fact that “she got signed, and you didn’t, and we’re both gonna get rich, and you’re not.”

    Silly, isn’t it, when we take everything positive that someone dares to say about themselves as somehow either bragging, insulting, or bad manners?



  44. Jael said:

    This has certainly been a controversial post! To me, it’s a question of tone, and “can’t you take an Emailed MS because 30 other agents did” could come across either as courtesy or bragging.

    Courteous: “I know you prefer to receive manuscripts by US mail, and I’m happy to use that method if necessary. However, there are a number of other agents who have also requested the manuscript, and an Emailed copy would reach you far more quickly.”

    Bragging: “I know you requested the MS by mail, but there are 30 other agents who are currently reading the full MS, and if they were able to receive it by Email, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to do the same.”

    And there’s the little matter of truthiness… is it even *possible* to have 30 agents request a full MS more or less simultaneously? I think not. But that might have been a little amusing hyperbole for the sake of argument. To me, “several” would be all the specificity needed.

  45. Anonymous said:

    What really got me in this blog is that the agent had already requested the full (must of seen some promise) but because they felt slighted in some way over the number of people who would be looking at it, the agent already decides the fulls fate. Rejection. Geez, thats pretty sad on the agents part.

    It’s about the work. Right. Sure.

    I know agents want clients that they can work with throughout their career but, geez, isn’t that a little nit picky to stop considering someones work over that. Maybe the author with his or her excitment over the fulls requested didn’t realize that placing a number was not proper etiquette…seeing how plenty of your blog readers are unaware of this. Since so many different etiquette rules on finding an agent are out there, with some contradicting others, its easy to rub one agent the wrong way, while looking courteous to another.

    Thank god there’s hundreds of agents. But this particular agent must have a decent list seeing how the slightest discrepancy can cause for a rejection.

    Know wonder agents get a bad name. Really.

    And I don’t think the author said 30 (come on now 30)…I think kristin just threw out that large number to make a point. If she would have used say 8, then it would have sounded like the agent was making a big deal about it.

  46. dan said:

    I look forward to Kristin’s take on the matter.

    In the meantime, I re-read the post. If it’s merely the e-mail of the manuscript, as others have noted the agent has her requirements, and if the writer wants to submit, follow the directions. If you don’t, don’t submit. As was pointed out, a large number of agents now will accept e-mail submissions. Just as many do not.

    If it’s the number of the number of agents, I agree with the person who said that if there are already that number of agents involved, it’s not that the agent wouldn’t like to consider the writer, but what are the odds of the writer choosing them? Agents only have their time to sell. If there’s little, if any, chance of securing the manuscript, it would be a better use of time to do something that might pay the rent.

    My conclusion is that it’s a business call either way. Agents don’t read for pleasure, except on vacation!

  47. Anonymous said:


    So it is a game of strategy. I see.

    Don’t communicate to the agent that others are reading it, so the agent doesn’t feel like their wasting their time. And now the agent will read the requested manuscript and maybe consider you.

    Sounds good to me.

    On the flip side

    Communicating to the agent that others are reading your manuscript will make the agent uneasy, that they may be wasting their time. And agent may scrap manuscrpt and no longer consider your work.

    Not good. Not good at all.

    Well easy choose now that its layed out.


    DO NOT COMMUNICATE with potential agents. Communicating can lead to agent unease. Don’t want that. Well not until the timing is right. When an offer is on the table.

    But if you think about it, not saying others are interested in your manuscript doesn’t change the fact that others are interested in your manuscript.

    Except one is being upfront and honest and the other is putting his/her (author) interests first.

    I suppose in this business, thats how it is.

    Lesson learned. Thanks.

  48. beverley said:

    Like writing, everything is subjective, including this discussion. For those fortunate enough to have 31 agents requesting your full manuscript you can either be up front with all of them, and let them know just how fierce the competition is for your work, or you can be a tad more discreet, and merely say others have requested the full. I’m sure, either way, you’ll get representation.

  49. dan said:

    I don’t think agents are standing in line for one writer’s work, even if that writer is the next Grisham or Rowling. Right now, I need the agent more than the agent needs me. I don’t want just any agent, I want one who I know will do a good job in my genre. And I want the agent I work with to “get” my writing. If I were in this for a one-time deal, it wouldn’t matter who worked with me.

    I know it’s unpopular these days, but I’ve opted against the buckshot approach.

    May be if it takes years to get the right agent, I’d be bitter and vent against the system that’s in place as well, but that remains to be seen.

  50. Anonymous said:



    This was about disclosure. Knowing what to say and not to say when looking for an agent.

    Of course no sane author would take any agent that came along but, don’t tell me that there is only one good agent in your genre.

    Say by the graces of good fortune 4 out of the 5 agents you queried asked for your fulls. All great agents you researched.

    Now three of them requested the fulls around the same time, while the fourth requested three to four weeks later.

    Now slip in Ms. Nelsons scenario.

    You decide to communicate to the latest agent (because she is one of your top picks) that other fulls are out since said author figures thats the courteous thing to do. Or at least thats what the agent sites say.

    Now, apparently this is considered bragging. And the fourth agent has lost interest after recieving the full…without even reading it.

    Now, remember this fourth agent was one of your top picks, well tied with one other agent that requested your manuscript.

    Now you say you want the right agent. What if that fouth agent could have been the right agent but, now you will never know since said agent disregarded your manuscript because of miscommunication.

    So back to disclosure.

    You just made me realize that this is a business, thats all. That if you want an agent to consider your work its better not to disclose everything.

    Back to scenario.

    Maybe its better that the author didn’t get her work considered by the latest agent. She may have seemed like the perfect agent on paper but not after correspondence.