On a recent WIR you explained how to query when you have an offer on the table. You mentioned it is best to involve the agent as soon as possible in the process.
Scenario: an editor offered an R&R. I agreed with editor's vision and suggestions, (which have made my book 100x stronger). Checked out all the online resources for red flags. Talked to a writer in my local RWA chapter who has published with said publisher. All looks good. I agree to proceed, and receive my very first edit letter.
During the R&R discussion, this is what was agreed to: I would take as long as I need to revise, and when I submit back to editor I would give editor 90 days to offer/reject before submitting elsewhere (I know exclusives are bad, but after the extensive edit letter and all the work editor put into it, this seemed reasonable). If editor likes, it goes to acquisition board, and if they like it, they make an offer. I stated up front that if an offer was made I would be contacting an agent.
My questions for you are - did I screw anything up in this process? Is an exclusive okay in these circumstances? And, if my timing choices for querying an agent are (a) when I'm done with the book, (b) when the editor is considering the revised book, (c) when the editor decides the book is the best thing ever and takes it to the board, or (d) when a formal offer is made, which do I chose? I am thinking the answer is (d), and if no offer is made, query normally?
No you didn't screw anything up, and yes you should query with a subject line of "offer in hand from X publisher" when you query (answer d.)
If an editor has given you notes and asked for an exclusive on the revised manuscript, it's polite to say yes. I probably would have negotiated a shorter time period since things get pushed down the To Do list the longer the time frame for MUST REPLY. 30 days is certainly enough time to read something and decide if you want to take the next step.
My trumpeted disdain of exclusives is when the agent or editor hasn't added any value yet. Just offering to read something doesn't add value. It's our damn job.
Once the editor or agent has some skin in the game (ie sent an editorial letter) then giving them first crack at revisions is the right thing to do.