This is the kind of letter I get most often. I think it must be terrifying to deal with agents if you don’t have any experience, if you’re afraid to alienate one when you’re not certain if another is interested, when everything you’ve been hoping for…happens.
I have an offer of representation that I was at first excited about but after speaking with the offering agent I was less excited. Three other agents have my manuscript and I have notified them of the offer. I’ve stopped sending queries but still have some queries out there. My question: If I receive more requests for my manuscript is it okay to send the materials and tell the agent that I’ve had an offer I’m luke warm about?
How would you handle this situation? I don’t want to do anything unethical but also want to find the agent that is the best match for me.
Dear HC: First, I’m dying to know what put you off the agent you were originally excited about? Simple common halitosis? Excessive name-dropping? Invited you to lunch at Balthazar which is so 2000?
So far, you ‘ve done everything right by alerting the agents who have your material. This is called LEVERAGE and we rarely have the chance to exercise it unless we are Google or George Clooney.
You’ve stopped sending it out. Good. But what about the queries you haven’t heard from? I think you should let those agents know that you’ve had a number of positive responses thus far and if they can look at it sooner rather than later you’d love to know what they think. I just got an email like that from a woman with two projects. I took a quick look at both (and if you’ve been reading this blog you know I hate considering two projects at once). Still, she came highly recommended and others were sniffing her petticoats. I was glad for the heads up. I might have passed more quickly, which is always the fear when forcing someone’s hand. But you’ve got to act. And I’d keep the agent with bad breath on the hook just in case the others don’t pan out, unless you wouldn’t want to work with him under any circumstances.
I think I’ve answered all your questions. Will you please come back and tell us how you made out, superstar? Also, if this project is so hot, have you ever heard of an agent called Betsy Lerner? Her breath is sweet mint, her name dropping levels respectable, tasteful even, and her restaurant selection more traditional than trendy, which is cool.