Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Monday, October 21, 2013

Question: Requerying after rejection

I've realized that while I love my manuscript, the opening chapter is not as strong as it could be and I am significantly revising it. I believe that the new opening chapter is much stronger and is more likely to grab an agent's attention more so than the original.

I know you prefer not to be re-queried after a rejection, but do you believe that to be true for all agents, or is that a personal preference of yours? Most agents only ask for the first chapter and I believe that I may have better luck with the new first chapter. I have received 14 rejections so far. I've stopped querying for the time being until my revisions are complete.

If I had to answer yes or no and it had to apply to most of the re-queries I see, the answer is Yes. Most agents do not want to be requeried after a rejection.

This is because, most often, the book being queried isn't something I want to take on. I have personal preferences just like you do.  Better writing isn't going to help. A better novel isn't going to help.  I'm most likely never going to take on a novel about werewolves, shapeshifters or anything set in space.  And no dinosuar erotica. Not now. Not ever. (I'm not making that up, I swear)

And there are those among the queriers out there who just requery endlessly for the same novel.  Some years back there was a guy (he may still be out there for all I know) who queried the same novel something like 97 times.  It was actually rather helpful that he did this: I learned how to do keyword search and block in my email so his stuff went straight to spam.

And that's the danger of querying too often no matter how many revisions you've made.  If it seems that  I've seen this query before, I'll look in my archives. If you've queried too many times (3+) on the same novel in a short period of time (months) I block your email address.

BUT for those writers who realized their work wasn't ready for the harsh light of the slushpile stage, and have made SUBSTANTIAL revisions, let me again say that there is no such thing as the Query Police.  If you requery no one will come to your house and impound your keyboard.  (This will change when I am Queen of the Known Universe.)

The trick is to also REDO YOUR QUERY.  It's the query I will remember, not the pages.  Use this information wisely cause the last thing you want to do is get yourself in the auto-spam folder. There's no way out of that short of changing your email address.


Celtic Bryan said...

Thank you very much for the information. This has been very helpful!

french sojourn said...

I'm most likely never going to take on a novel .... or anything set in space.

Not yet.....not yet.

Otherwise a very helpful post. Thanks.

kregger said...

What is the deal with writers and Dino exotica? Have wolves and Scotsmen become so passé?

I guess my opera featuring a vixen Triceratops in space with a heart of gold will be a no go? Damn--I spent all of ten minutes coming up with that plotline.

BP said...

So gone are the days of innocent genre fears, like vampire erotica - the yonder years hold worse in store - dino erotica sounds like a picture book gone bad.

Elissa M said...

I like that you said "most likely never", because, you know, one day you'll get a query that blows your fins off and it'll be a mystery thriller about werewolf shapeshifters in space.

I think it's hard for writers to grasp that not everyone is going to love their novel no matter how well written it may be. They can't understand that sometimes no number of revisions will change an agent's "no".

Thanks for once again reminding us that often the best thing to do is move on to the next agent on the list (or the next novel).

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Whew, I was afraid my dinosaur western was DOA. Great question and the best advice of all REDO THE QUERY because just fixing the first chapter isn't likely going to fix it. Fixing the whole novel is, well, another novel and the query should reflect it.

I have a trunker that is paranormal suspense that I kick around as a reboot into a romantic suspense. Uh, yeah, that's a different novel.


Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Dinosaur erotica: Not even once.

It's funny that there's been such a tizzy over it lately; several years ago, I had the (mis)fortune to see a clip of a movie involving a cave woman and pterodactyls.

Has this always been your taste on werewolves, et cetera, or are you also speaking from what you view as a market saturated with "dead genres"? I've seen other agents blogging who refer to certain genres (like werewolves) as "dead", which is disappointing to me for a number of reasons.

(okay, fine, so I've written a werewolf novel, but I have other things)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Ah, the misery of it. I believe I'm there in the AS-folder. Uh, add another s to that will ya.

V Brown said...

This is something I've been wondering about. I wrote my first novel, polished it forever, queried it, got rejected, won a contest offering a free manuscript critique and learned that my story was about nothing.

Hence the rewrite. This has been a long process, but I've learned a lot. Since I'm literally rewriting every single word I'm hoping the agents I eventually query have long forgotten the original.

Thanks for posting this question!