I’m wondering if you can help me with the term “First Refusal.”
For the first time ever, I have a literary agent who is enthusiastic about my ms. He has read it twice and had already put work/suggestions into the first 50 pages, which he is couriering to me. He has made suggestions over the phone, of which I entirely approve and agree. He is a solo agent (not with a big “house”) with a good reputation.
Incredibly, there are 2 other agents reading my ms at the moment. I let them both know about the first agent’s interest, and they responded by saying they would read it right away and get back to me. Both of them are from large agencies.
The first agent wants to talk this week after I’ve received his suggestions via courier. At that time he would like to discuss “First Refusal.’ What does that mean, and is it a smart direction in which to go? Does it mean I must turn down any other interested agents? Does it mean I should stop sending queries for now?
I really appreciate your help!
I’m impressed! Three agents who want your work – congratulations.
First refusal or first right of refusal will give the agent you choose exclusive rights to market your book. It’s not surprising that he wants that, and if you talk with the other agents they probably will too.
Make sure it’s for a limited time – thirty to ninety days or so. The agent need time to do a good job, but you don’t want to get stuck with someone who isn’t doing what they said they’d be doing.
When you give any one first rights of refusal it means until they refuse it, you can’t work with anyone else.
I’d probably stop sending queries for the time being.
You’re real chore right now is choosing the right agent for you. Ask for referrals, and trust your gut.
Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
You may also want to read: Do You Need A Literary Agent – FAQ