What are your thoughts on opening a query letter with this:
I recently parted ways with my agent before the novel was shopped, so I would love to submit for your consideration...
My colleagues and I feel very different about this opening line. I think it's a red flag for prospective representation, running the risk of that agent wondering "what's wrong?" with either me or my manuscript. On the other hand, fellow writers think it sends a powerful message that I/my work was strong enough to have had agent representation.
You're both right. How's that for confounding your expectations!
This is information that does NOT have to be in a query. Sans submission, you are not required to reveal that you had worked with an agent on this very same manuscript. However, as your
You are quite right to intuit that "formerly represented" is a red flag for any agent. We do not assume our ilk let good ms slide out of their mercenary paws readily, nor that they are idiots (although we know that to be the case with more than a few.)
What to do, what to do.
Like all sales pitches, you lead with the good stuff. If you really want to tell your prospective new agent that someone else liked you too, you put it at the END of the query. Notice in your question you said "opening a query letter." You never open a query with this. Not with any housekeeping stuff either like word count or genre. Snag the reader's attention with what matters: the plot.
Truthfully though, I'm voting with leaving this out. I'm less likely to request something if I know I'm clearly second choice, for any reason. [Yes, my ego is that big.]