This post is quick, down and dirty.
Most agents and editors understand that you are querying multiple outlets at once. In fact, many expect you to–they don’t want your hopes and dreams to rest in their hands alone. Yes, there are a few who would like an exclusive, and I can understand why. Bad behavior by an author can waste a lot of time. But we aren’t those kind of authors, are we? (Whaddaya know. I smell another blog topic, right there.)
But we are professionals and can’t handle our careers according to the fears of others, so go ahead, query far and wide, but follow this rule:
ONLY QUERY ONE PERSON IN EACH AGENCY OR PUBLISHING HOUSE
Yup, sometimes there are two or three agents or editors in the same company who seem like a good fit, but you have to choose one. So research, research, research, and make your choice. You only get one. REPEAT: YOU ONLY GET ONE. (How many do I get?) ONE!!! Some agents will pass along a manuscript to a colleague, if they feel it’s a better pairing. That’s what they say on their websites, anyway.
As for editors, here’s the tricky part: you know how publishers keep merging and taking each other over and becoming one monster entity overshadowing the land? Well, publishers do not want their imprints competing against each other, so don’t submit to imprints owned by the same publisher. UNLESS. The publisher allows it–which the occasional publisher does.
Yeah, I don’t either. Research, research, research is all I can say.