Yesterday I posted my thoughts on how to handle a request for an exclusive, and since I’m slow at coming down off my soapbox, I wanted to give you my top five reasons for why writers should avoid offering exclusives at all costs.
1. Offering an exclusive limits you to the possibility of working with only one agent. If that agent offers representation you have no other alternatives since no one else is reading your work. Therefore, you might find yourself stuck with an agent who isn’t the right agent for you or your work.
2. Exclusives greatly limit the number of submissions you can make. If every exclusive averages 3-6 weeks, you are limiting yourself to roughly 12 agents a year. At that rate it could easily take you 10 years to find one agent (of course it might take that long anyway).
3. If an agent isn’t aggressive enough to compete for your work with other agents, how aggressive will she be selling your work?
4. An agent with an exclusive is in no rush. She doesn’t have to worry about getting to your work since no one else is doing it. Therefore she can take her own sweet time and you’re stuck with nothing to do but wait.
5. Agents who ask for exclusives still have a 99% rejection rate—they just have it exclusively.