Since there were so many comments and questions about the Brad Thor post on simultaneous submissions to agents, I asked my favorite agent expert, Chuck Sambuchino, of the Guide to Literary Agents to give us his take on the issue. Here’s Chuck:
First of all, I have to disagree with Brad’s comment that agents hate simultaneous submissions. They are the norm, and most agents accept that they are not the only one receiving a specific query. So all of these comments here with people saying “I agree with Brad” are right!
Indeed, don’t put your eggs in one basket. It’s silly. But just as bad as putting your eggs in one basket is querying TOO MANY agents – such as 100. You’re showing you haven’t done any research. You should have about 5 “ideal” agents and maybe 25 total “possibilities” after doing some research and reading. Send queries out in waves. Query your top five. If none say yes, try the next five, and so on. The more vigorous research you do, the fewer possible agents you will have on your list, but the payoff is that you will be able to impress those agents you DO query by showing WHY you picked them out of the bunch. That goes a long way.
Next, know that “multiple submissions” and “simultaneous submissions” arenot the same thing. The former is when you send several works (or queries) to the same agent at the same time. Perhaps a script manager wanted to seeall the screenplays you had in your arsenal, for example. The latter is what we’re talking about here – querying multiple agents at once.
All that said, yes – do know that some agents request an “exclusive” look at your work, but these are rarer than you may think. It’s up to you as to whether you want to agree. You’re getting a close read of your work, but your hands are tied, so to speak. Requesting an exclusive is much more common when an agent requests a full manuscript than just when we’re talkingabout queries. So you should be OK sending out plenty of queries, but then you’ll run into exclusive requests when they want to see a partial or the full work.