No story today, I actually wanted to briefly mention something about submitting to agents. I received a really interesting query via my agency website submission form, and so less than an hour after the query came in I requested the first 30 pages. Less than a week later I received an email by this author informing me that they received an offer of representation from another agent and had decided to accept the offer. As a result, they were withdrawing the submission.
I actually read the first thirty pages and thought they were quite good, and was going to request the rest. I guess it's my fault for not reading the material fast enough, and I'm happy that the author got an offer. Still, I have to say that the writer didn't handle this properly at all. Sadly, it seems writers make this mistake all the time.
I encourage authors to submit to more than one agent at a time, and when a query comes in I am assuming you are. Still, its proper etiquette to inform other agents who have requested your material when you received an offer from another agent, and you should give them at least a little bit of time to finish reading the material, especially when they've only had something for a week.
Its comparable to agents submitting to editors. If I have an offer from another editor coming in, I'll let the other editors know and give them a bit of time to finish reading the submission and making a decision. Before advising my client to enter into a publishing agreement, I like for all options to be explored and pursued that make sense. The only time this doesn't happen is if the editor and publisher are a perfect fit for the book and they make a very good preemptive offer.
Agents shouldn't and usually don't give authors a deadline to respond to an offer of representation unless it drags on for more than a few weeks. So unless you're getting an offer from someone like Amanda Urban, who can and does sell just about every book she represents, there's no reason not to give other agents a bit of time. Not only is this basic etiquette, but is the smart way to handle making one of the more important decisions of your writing career.