So this morning I mailed off the partial submission an agent requested last week, complete with SASE and hopefully enough US stamps for it to arrive back here sooner or later. My awesomely wonderful distant US relatives whom I met on Sunday brought me a whole stash of forever-stamps, no charge. THANK you!
And the best of luck to you, my first three chapters. Make me proud.
Other than sending off the partial, my day wasn't good. It wasn't bad exactly, it was just one of those why-bother days. Why bother taking an umbrella when cars sloshing through the street are just going to spray you from beneath? Why bother trying for the umpteenth time to make light of the same social network analysis software that has been nya-nya-nya-ing you for the past three days? Why bother eating yummy food you can't taste and which hurts your throat on the way down?
And then, this evening, half an hour ago, I get another email. From another agent. Who wants another first-three-chapters submission. This time via email.
Squeeeeeee! Now I'm definitely...
There is a... well, not a catch, exactly. More of a snag. This agent requested a three-week exclusive. Obviously, now that I sent my material to another agent just today, I can't grant her that. But I don't want to begin a possible agent-author relationship with a lie by telling her this is an exclusive, either. I also don't want to not send her my material. In fact, I want to send it to her very badly.
A classic dilemma. One I couldn't solve without more information.
Once again I turned on my trusty googlopedia (incidentally, how did people deal without the internet and stay sane?), and surfed the net for advice on this kind of situation. There's quite a lot, since I'm not the only one this has happened to (not that I'd expected that).
Here's the suggestion I liked most and used, a little altered, to answer Ms. Agent #2:
"Other agents are currently reading the proposal and another is reading the manuscript, so I'm unable to grant an exclusive at this time. I'll be happy to send the material on to you anyway, and should I receive an offer, I'll contact you before making any decision."
I hope she says, 'sure, I'll look at it anyway'. Mainly, though, I'm extremely grateful. Another submission request in one and a half weeks! This means I'm on the right track, that my query's getting agents' attention.
And I know that my novel matches - nay, surpasses - the query and will find somebody who'll want to represent it. Even if it's neither of these two agents.