I’m hoping you can help me with a dilemma. A little over a year ago, I queried a novel and received several offers of rep and came close with a few other agents. I accepted one of the offers and the agent has shopped my book around. We’ve come heartbreakingly close, but have had no offers on the book.
In the meantime, I wrote a second book, which my agent is not enthusiastic about (and that is a tale of woe best saved for another day). Because of this, we have parted ways amicably. As sad as I am to be agent-less, I feel savvier now and am excited about the possibilities. I know, from reading past posts on your blog, that since I am querying a brand new book, I don’t need to mention my previous representation in queries, but that it may come up should I receive an offer.
My question is a bit different. I would like to requery the 2 agents who did not offer on my first book, but came close. One of them said “if you ever find yourself without representation, I hope that you will think of me.” The other stopped short of saying that, but gave me extensive positive feedback and was extremely encouraging. Is it okay, in either case, for me to reply to their emails from over a year ago, or personalize a new email, letting them know that I have a new novel that I am seeking representation for, and then launch into my query pitch? Or should I start fresh with both? I don’t want to be unprofessional, but I also don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.
There's nothing unprofessional about a polite concise email that says
This happens with enough frequency that no one is surprised to get these kind of emails at all. You'll mention the book they read is not the book you're querying for now; this new book has not been on submission.
I hope you're not writing in a new or vastly different category cause that would have an impact on their willingness to read. Example: if you queried me on a thriller, I'm not going to read a romance on the second time around.
As long as your emails are polite and concise you're fine. Unprofessional is calling my office, or sending the manuscript without a request. You've proposed neither of those things, so I'm confident you're going to do just fine.
(It's the people who worry about being unprofessional who never are. The other ones...well, they make good stories.)