Exclusives: not a fan.

Can we please--I'm asking both authors and agents--please, please, please do away with the system of exclusive looks? It does the author numerous disservices: it takes longer--but, far worse, it sometimes forces authors to choose an agent based on their having replied within an hour versus within five. This is absurd.

But allow me to be selfish a moment: exclusives, especially lately (I can only imagine it's because everyone is so nervous, and agents want to lock down work, that I am hearing about them so often), inconvenience me. Yes, really. When I see a query I like, I want it. Hours after I ask for it, if possible, while it's still fresh in my mind. Do I want to hear, "Oh, uh--well--so-and-so wanted an exclusive for a month, so if it's still available..."? Of course not. Whoever so-and-so is, I'm annoyed. I don't want to have to check my mail every five minutes, just to ensure I'm always the first to reply. At least on ebay, I can use Snipe.

The other side of it is, authors often break these agreements.

So let's be civilized about it and all look at the same time. When the author gets an offer from one agent, he or she will alert the others, perhaps with a reasonable deadline for a decision. Then, with all of the information available--weighing every interested agent against the other at once--the process is expedited for agent, author, book. What's not to like?