Loads of times last year, and several times this year I’ve encountered a bit of a problem in my query email. I would request a full and days later the authors would come back with offers from small presses. Which is fine. Wooohoo! Offers! But I have to drop everything and read quickly, then the author normally doesn’t want to ‘risk’ the deal to go on a long sub. So as an agent I”m stuck and I have to turn down the MS.
I’ve often wondered why authors submit to presses and agents simultaneously. It seems to be two career paths. Having a vibrant small/medium press career is nothing to scoff at, but I think the author has to choose what they want for each MS.
I get behind in my box trying to keep up with all of these. I try to read each MS in the order they are received. Yeah, stuff happens! Other agents offer and one has to be bumped up and other things like that, but adding in the I have an offer for publication makes it more complicated. Because as I stated before the author generally wants you to negotiate this contract for them instead of subbing the MS.
From this point forward I will bow out of any race that would require me to drop everything only to be the negotiator of a contract. If you are submitting to presses while querying I am probably not the agent for you. I have to think of my time management and how I want to sign authors and racing against a contract on short submissions or no submission at all is not for me.