Handling Outstanding Queries When an Agent Offers Representation

Was that title specific enough?

So you’ve got your masterpiece out to five amazing agents, and one of them offers representation.


I meant when you’re done with that. (Where did you get the horse head?)

You must contact the other agents who have your query or your full manuscript. A major reason some agents have quit taking unsolicited queries is they’ve been burned. They’ve invested time in reading and evaluating queries or manuscripts and expressed interest, only to find that the writer has accepted an offer elsewhere. Since we are SUB IT CLUB PROFESSIONALS we won’t let that happen, will we? So here’s your handy-dandy checklist for handling this situation:


  • Tell the agent who made the offer you need to think about it.
  • Email each agent who has a query or a full:

Dear Also-Ran Agent,

You requested my MG thriller, Pickles is as Pickles Does, which I sent 3.3.11. I’ve    received offer of representation and would like to get back to this agent by (date one week away).

I look forward to hearing from you.


Extremely Excited Writer

  • Watch the offers roll in.

DO NOT let the offering agent bully/scare you into snapping up his offer right away. If he balks at a one-week period to allow you to clean up your correspondence with other agents and think about the offer, then do you want him for an agent? He doesn’t like getting burned, and he should allow you to behave professionally.

DO NOT tell the other agents who the offering agent is. Unbelievably, some will ask you. Just say, “It’s a professional agent with a reputable agency.” If they ask again, repeat your mantra. You are frickin’ NEGOTIATING–don’t give away your hand.

DO NOT PANIC. This is one of the fun parts of being a writer. Talk it over with your significant other, your critique partner and your mother. And enjoy the ride!


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