A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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LaurenNTaylor
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A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by LaurenNTaylor » September 11th, 2012, 6:33 pm

Hi,

I need some advice. I sent queries to both agents and publishers at the same time. I had a full MS request from an agent at Writers House about a month ago which I sent away. Now I have had a full MS request from a small ebook publisher, MUSA.

It says on the Writers House website they 'prefer' to be sent full MS on an exclusive basis, but that was not pointed out in the request sent to me by the agent.

I'm not sure what to do. Obviously Writers House is a very successful agency and I don't want to rub them the wrong way but the publisher seems genuinely interested too.

Please don't roll your eyes at my predicament coz I know I should be happy about the requests but I really don't want to muck up my chances with either one.

Any advice would be appreciated. :)

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klbritt
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Re: A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by klbritt » September 11th, 2012, 10:00 pm

First off, congrats!! Secondly, do your research regarding the publisher (I'm sure you've done that). You mentioned that its a self publishing company, so that makes me a little nervous...I've heard that once you contact publishers and send them your work, its often harder to get agent acceptance...any one that knows differently, please correct me. But in the very least, do your research regarding the publisher :)

Good luck and again, congrats!!
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HillaryJ
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Re: A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by HillaryJ » September 12th, 2012, 12:37 am

Did you get a timeline on turnaround of the full from the agent, Lauren? It's not a problem to advise the second requesting party, whether agent or publisher, that someone is currently looking at the manuscript on an exclusive basis and - in the event they pass - you will send it to them. It can turn into a problem if an agent holds onto a manuscript for months and you feel that you can't in good faith take it anywhere else.

klbritt, I'm confused as to how you determined that the publisher is a self-publisher. Digital-only and digital-first publishers aren't the same as self-publishing and they aren't the same as self-publishing services (though some self-publishing services represent themselves as publishers). In addition, it's my experience that solid publisher interest (as in, an offer) can help a writer to land an agent. Self-publishing, on the other hand - if the sales are insignificant - can turn agents off to that manuscript, but not necessarily to that author.
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klbritt
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Re: A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by klbritt » September 12th, 2012, 1:24 am

@HillaryJ - I misread the publisher bit - somehow, I got self-publishing from ebook...DOH!
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LaurenNTaylor
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Re: A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by LaurenNTaylor » September 12th, 2012, 3:51 am

Thanks guys.

Yep it's definitely a genuine publisher not a self publisher. They do mostly ebooks and some print.

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Re: A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by cheekychook » September 13th, 2012, 8:57 pm

Unless you specifically agreed or were directly asked to submit an exclusive you are free to send you manuscript elsewhere. If Writers House didn't directly ask you for an exclusive you can submit fulls to whomever requests one without notifying anyone. The second you get an offer from one you'd need to let anyone who has any full or partial copies of the manuscript know that you have an offer on the table and would need to tell the offering party that you need time to notify others who have it and make a decision. Most agents/editors will get back to you very quickly in the even of an offer from someone. Do not divulge who already has your manuscript or who has requested full or offers.

In all likelihood the small press will get back to you before Writers House does---many small presses and digital companies have a 6 week turnaround on full request whereas agents usually take 3-6 months or longer, so even with the month head start an agent will probably answer after you've heard from the small press. IF you get an offer from the press you have to decide if you want to go with them and notify the agent. Odds are an agent won't sign you based on a small press offer, they'll only counter offer if they think they can sell your work to a larger press.

Good luck with both submissions. And congrats on both full requests! Keep us posted.
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LaurenNTaylor
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Re: A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by LaurenNTaylor » September 14th, 2012, 3:35 am

That's brilliant, thank you. Have sent it off. :)

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Re: A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by thewordsmith » December 31st, 2012, 9:54 am

duplicate post deleted by author
Last edited by thewordsmith on December 31st, 2012, 9:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A full MS request from agent and publisher at same time...

Post by thewordsmith » December 31st, 2012, 9:55 am

Well, since you've already sent this one off, and please let us know how it turned out, for future reference, there is an issue of integrity involved here. While being fully aware of Writers House's policy/preference you chose to ignore that and send to the ebook publisher. The proper path to follow would be to advise the dead tree publisher that you have had a request for a full from a publisher and, pending an offer of representation from the agent, will be sending thereto. Follow that by sending the requested full to the ebook publisher advising them that the manuscript is also under consideration by an agent. This puts both the agent and the publisher on notice that your work is not exclusive to them and is being considered by another source.

It's called respect ... for the agency, the publisher, and yourself. You would not want an agent to agree to take you on as a client and have you turn down offers from half a dozen other agents and publishers only to, at the eleventh hour, tell you, "You know. I just found another writer who does the same kind of stuff as you and I think I am going to take them on as my next new client instead of you. But lots of luck!"

And screwing around with potential publishers and agents can end up just screwing you. A little courtesy and common sense goes a long way.



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