How does an author handle multiple requests for "exclusive" reads. Let me present an exact scenario:
- On Monday, I send out several queries.
- On Tuesday, Agent A writes back to say, "I'm intrigued. Can I see for the full ms on a two-week exclusive?"
- On Wednesday, Agent B asks to see the full ms as well, exclusive or not.
I've said it before, I'll say it again: EXCLUSIVES STINK. They're almost always never in a writer's best interest.
If you send it to an agent on an exclusive basis, and they offer you representation, you don't have any time to send it to other agents and perhaps choose from MANY offers.
Agents are not widgets, interchangeable pieces of the Publishing puzzle.
You might not know if an agent is the best choice for you until you've talked with several.
Here's what I think you should do:
1. If an agent requests an exclusive, you say no. You're polite but honest: You've sent out several queries, you're hoping several agents want to read, you don't want to give an exclusive yet.
2. If the agent won't read your work with that reply, you know something pretty valuable about the agent.
3. If the agent does read despite asking for an exclusive, you've lost nothing.
And to my agent colleagues who request exclusives: get over yourselves.