So, once an agent has offered representation (and you want to take it) you then must go through the process of letting other agents know that you’ve been offered said representation. You only have to let agents who’ve asked for partial or full manuscripts know, but in my case that was 9 agents.
Luckily, I followed the rules and didn’t submit to agencies that required a query be exclusive. Twice I was asked for exclusives by agents. Neither time could I grant the exclusive. One agent passed almost immediately (less than an hour after I replied and denied exclusivity) and one agent accepted the ms anyway. However, I still had to tell these other agents. I’m not complaining. I mean, hell, I’d just landed my dream agent and these should be HAPPY emails I’m sending out, right?
Well, not exactly.
I read a few articles that told me agents would be annoyed if I emailed them with an automatic, “Sorry, but I’ve accepted an offer” type of email. Instead the suggestion was to send an email that sounded something like this:
“Dear Mr. Agent,
I am writing to let you know that an offer of representation has been made to me regarding [TITLE OF NOVEL]. Out of professional courtesy I am checking in with you regarding the status of my manuscript.
I appreciate your time and consideration.
So, that’s essentially what I did even though I was certain I wanted to go with the agent who’d offered me representation. Besides, I figured that they’d all email me back with a polite rejection.
That was not the case.
I’ve not heard back from two of them, and two others DID respond with a polite rejection. But four of them responded by asking for more time to read, and another actually offered me representation on the spot. By this point I was feeling like a major asshole.
I was trying to avoid annoying these agents, and what I did instead was waste their time. I’d already made up my mind. It wasn’t going to change. I ended up emailing them back and telling them so.
I need a facepalm meme here.
Here’s what I should have done: A) Asked the first agent to give me a couple of weeks to decide and then given the other agents a true chance to read/offer representation, or B) Been up front with the agents from the beginning, even if that meant annoying them.
Remember what I said in my previous post about making mistakes?
I’ve heard back from a couple of them since, and they didn’t seem irritated in the least. In fact, one of them seemed absolutely relieved that I’d let her off the hook because she was “swimming” in manuscripts. I think I got myself all worked up over nothing (which can happen when you spend too much time reading on the internet).
Although I’d much rather be dealing with this problem than dealing with no offer at all, I still feel badly for not handling the situation better. I truly hope that I end up staying with this agent for a long, long time. However, if I ever end up back in the querying game I’ll know how to respond should this situation arise again.
One can only hope.