re: The Whooshing Sound of Exclusive Deadlines Passing

in Submissions by

Dear Editor…

Super Agent requested my middle grade novel on an exclusive basis, but did not specify a time frame, so I offered it for six weeks. Six weeks have passed with no response, and I’d like to begin sending my novel elsewhere. Should I ask them if they need more time, notify them that I am now querying elsewhere, or keep silent and do as I please?


Dear J….

It’s easy to get annoyed by the resounding silence your submission has received. But who knows, maybe your original submission fell through the cracks. Find out if that’s what happened and get your project moving on to new opportunities with a single email that tells the agent her six-week exclusivity period has passed and you’re starting to multiply submit the manuscript now. Assuming you submitted that exclusive because you really wanted her to represent you, tell her you continue to hope she’ll decide to represent you and that if anyone else shows interest in representation, you’ll touch in again. That way, you keep the door open with that agent even as you move on. Best case, this is the email that’ll trigger the agent to (re)discover the great project that almost got away.

Happy writing!
The Editor


  1. Thanks for the helpful advice. I’m in a similar situation: agent gave great feedback on my MS and said I could rewrite and resubmit. After a few months of hard but necessary work, I resubmitted it and her assistant said 8 weeks to hear back. I’ve been wondering when to make it into a multiple submission. This approach makes sense.

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