I started querying agents with my recently completed novel about 3 weeks ago. I got a very positive response from a legit agent with a good sales record, requesting a full manuscript. I sent it over and in under a week got a response saying they were nearly through the book, loved it and wanted a synopsis to use in consulting with the rest of the agency. I sent that, and the agent responded saying they would get back to me soon. That was a couple days ago.
This is exciting, but I'm trying not to be too optimistic. I only sent out 4 queries before all this happened and at this point have not received responses on any of the others. Should I continue to send out new query letters? I still haven't queried some of the agencies I want the most. The agent with interest is not my top choice, but is more like my 5th choice though it is a reputable agent that I think I could work well with.
So basically, if they were to offer representation would I be stupid to not have queried my top choices? Or does it make more sense to accept the offer as the agent seems to be very excited about my work? And, if I do get an offer, is it unheard of to query on a query letter to the other agents, even when no further work has been requested at present?
Anyone have some input or advice? I think I'm being too nervous about it.
I'm not aware of any prohibition against simultaneous queries. In a week or two, if the agency who's interested hasn't gotten back to you with positive progress, ask if they mind if you continue sending out queries to other agents or houses. That's one way to keep the ball moving on both sides of the court. Plus, if it's that much interest at one, another higher on the list might have a similar reaction, create buzz, go for a bidding war. Nicholas Sparks agent "discovered" his third written novel, first published novel in the agency's slush pile. The bidding went to a $1 million advance.
[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited September 25, 2008).]
Take this from a guy who has never finished a novel, never sent a query letter and never sold a short. So... don't take it at all.
But from what I understand, you can simultaneously submit query packages to your hearts content but once you've sent a full novel manuscript it is bad form to market the novel further without alerting all parties involved. Again, this is merely from heresay and my own research.
First of all, way to go! This must be a great feeling, either way you slice it.
I agree with extrinsic. Give the agent a little more time, and then let them know that you would like to continue with the querying process.
I know that it is common practise that if you receive an offer for representation to let other agents who might have your manuscript know. So, I can't imagine why you would not be able to continue, unless this agent has asked for an exclusive reading.
Keep querying. Even though you might hold out for your dream agent, you really don't know what your dream agent is like on a day-to-day basis--who knows, you might not like them once you talk to them or you might have differing opinions on your writing career.
So keep querying and if someone ELSE asks for the full, then politely tell them another agent has already requested the full, but that you certainly would not make a decision without hearing from them first. Okay to have multiple agents reading the full manuscript, but bad form to pull the plug on one before they've read it.
Agents understand that you will be querying LOTS of their peers. And chances are, if a book looks salient to one agent, there will be others who are also interested.
Congrats on the interest in your novel. I would continue with your query letters until you make a deal. When you send out another manuscript, inform the new agent of the interest from "another" agency, but would welcome the interest. Perhaps this will encourage them to read faster than the first guy and you will have a choice. Every new writers dream.
I would love to read your query letter. I am just starting to construct mine.