At what point do you notify agents that have partials/fulls out of a publisher’s interest in your book? Should you just wait until they make an offer? I have two publishers, one small and one large, that have requested fulls of my manuscript, and both seemed very interested from the phone calls/emails. I also have about eight or nine agents that have fulls/partials of the book. If either publisher makes an offer, I hate to put them on hold while simultaneously scrambling to tell the other publisher and trying to secure representation, but it seems to be the way it is. Is it too early to notify agents? I’m a long-range planner in case you couldn’t tell.
Many of you regularly enter contests and get recognition from agents and editors, which is really exciting. My thought is that this can go both ways. Notifying agents that you have interest from publishers who are currently reviewing the full manuscripts can certainly heighten an agent’s interest. After all, an editor has expressed that this is a viable project, so therefore I should take a closer look. With that in mind I would definitely let all, or at least your favorite agents, know what’s going on. It can’t hurt.
On the other hand, sometimes what will happen is that an agent will think, Hmmmm, the author already has it out with publishers, so maybe I’ll sit on it and see what happens. It takes some of the risk out of it for me, and presumably if an offer comes along she’ll get in touch with me to let me know that she has an offer and I can make my bid then. My take is that this agent probably isn’t enthusiastic enough anyway.
As for putting publishers on hold, don’t worry about it in the least. I’ve done numerous posts on this very subject, the most recent being how to handle an unagented offer from a publisher. When that happens, editors expect that you are going to use the opportunity to find yourself an agent and that the agent will use the opportunity to get the best deal possible. While it doesn’t always make them happy, it is part of the business.
My final suggestion: Go ahead and notify the agents of the interest you’re receiving. You don’t need to send out a new email every week, but a short email letting them all know that Julie at Franklin Publishing read the material in a contest and has requested the full manuscript can definitely speed things up and, let’s face it, it can’t really hurt. The worst that happens is you don’t find an agent.