ASK THE AGENT: Exclusivity
A writer asked: “If you are working on revision suggestions for one agent with whom you have NOT signed, should you still query other agents?”
Simple answer: No.
If the agent has given you revision suggestions but not agreed to represent it, you should honor them (the fact that they took the time to give you notes) by giving them exclusivity for a period of time. You should do the revisions and re-submit to THAT agent, letting them know that you are currently letting them see it exclusively. It’s reasonable for you to expect a fairly prompt reply since you’re not submitting to anyone else at this point. Follow up if you haven’t heard a word in a couple of weeks. If the agent ends up passing, you’re free to pursue others.
This principle is the same, by the way, if you’re dealing with an in-house editor. And fair warning… it’s not uncommon for an agent or editor to give notes and request changes and still not end up buying (or representing) the project. So stay positive, but remember there’s no deal until there’s a deal.
Regarding exclusivity in general: Most agents don’t expect exclusivity when they’re looking at a project. But if an agent requests exclusivity and you’d like to say yes, then be sure to put a limit on it, i.e. “Yes, I’d be happy to let you see this exclusively for 3o days, ending June 27th. Does that work for you?”