Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chasya's Questions Corner on Submission Etiquette

by Chasya


As a follow up to your post on December 1, is it considered good form to let agents who have your full manuscript know when you receive another request for a full (assuming they have not asked for an exclusive)? I want to be above-board and professional, but I don't want to needlessly pressure (or annoy!) agents who have my work.


The short answer to this is no, you generally shoudn't inform an agent who is reading your manuscript that you have received another such request. It can be difficult discerning what can be considered a faux-pas when it comes to submitting your work, but where updating agents on who else is reviewing your material is concerned, this isn’t something we request or expect. We do always appreciate a writer’s desire to cross their Ts and dot their Is, but there’s no need to worry about this one!

Keep sending in your questions to news@dystel.com!


  1. I have read, though, that we should let an agent know in a query letter if we are querying multiple agents at the same time. Is this still the acceptable norm?

  2. Also, if another agent offers representation, it would be good form to let other agents know who have your full, right?

  3. Can you explain what the process is when one receives an exclusive revision request? I've received more than one, and it's a little weird. I never expected to have to choose between agents -without- a guarantee one will represent me.

    I understand this also means I'll have to turn down any offers of representation from other agents that have the full. Do you have any course of action to suggest? Thank you!

  4. Thanks for your follow up questions! Betsy, you can let an agent know if you are querying multiple agents, but most agents will assume that they are not receiving a query exclusively unless you specifically say so. Still, it’s best to review an agency’s submission guidelines to see if they ask that you include that information.

    Sandra, if another agent offers representation, you should definitely let any other agent who is reviewing your manuscript know. It’s unfair for an agent to dedicate their time to something only to find out that it’s no longer available. But not only would you be doing the right thing and giving them the opportunity to review your work before you make your decision, this also puts you in an advantageous position.

    Anon, it’s your right to say yes or no to an exclusive revision request. However, if you feel like the agent who is requesting an exclusive is the right fit for you, you may decide you want to grant it. This doesn’t mean, however, that you must turn down other offers of representation. What you need to do is be up front and tell the agent who requested the exclusive (should you decide to grant it) that you will make the revisions and let them see it exclusively, but they should know that the manuscript is actually already out with other agents.

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