Exclusive Submissions: Treading Carefully

Publish date:

Q. I have been sending out multiple submissions for the past few months on my completed manuscript. I received and granted a one-month request for reading exclusivity to an agent. The next day, I receive a request from another house. What is the best way to proceed with the second request? I am not sure if I should tell the second agent to wait 30 days or just stall and send the manuscript to the agent in 30 days. What is the etiquette for this situation?
- Dave

A. First of all, congrats on getting multiple requests for the full ms.
Now, on to your question. The best etiquette is to simply be honest. Reply to Agent #2 (by e-mail, hopefully), saying how excited you are about their request for the full text, but you regretfully have to inform them that it is in the middle of an exclusive read. Ask them if you can send it to them in a few weeks when the exclusive period ends, providing Agent #1 has ultimately said no to the project. The quicker you can do this and reply, the more professional it seems.
If Agent #1 says no and Agent #2 hasn't answered your question, I advise sending it anyway. They wanted to see it, and they may have not replied because they were momentarily frustrated that you couldn't immediately send it. But, still, they did want to see it, so send the requested ms over to Agent #2 ASAP.

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

A spy thriller requires more than a compelling story and clever plot twists—the characters need to feel real. Author Stephanie Marie Thornton offers 5 tips for constructing believable spy characters.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time for a little unexpected team work.

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson discusses the process of writing his new science fiction novel, Purgatory's Shore.

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

Whether you're looking for something cozy or a little spooky, these books are perfect for the fall season.

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

When it comes to a 30 day writing challenge like NaNoWriMo, do you need to prep beforehand to achieve success? Well, that might depend on what kind of writer you are.

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Copywriter and author Sarah Echavarre Smith discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, On Location.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 583

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a fall poem.

5 Thrilling Adventure Terms Every Writer Should Know (And Why)

5 Thrilling Adventure Terms Every Writer Should Know (And Why)

For over a decade, author Joshua Glenn has been researching adventure-related terms. Now, he's sharing what he's learned for other writers to add to their lexicon.

Moral Compass

Moral Compass

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone with an unfailing moral compass.