Friday, February 13, 2015

Query Question: the next next

My question is a variation of the “next work” one you answered. I received a rejection from an agent who asked me to query other work if I didn’t find representation for the story I sent her. I don’t plan to continue to look for an agent for that one and think I may allow a m/m rom press to publish it.

However, I would like to find an agent to represent another story and wondered if it would be permissible to query that agent even though this wouldn’t fit in with her asking me to do so if I didn’t find an agent for the story I sent her. 

What the agent meant was come back with your next project if you haven't been snapped up by one of her competitors.  She likes your work, that first project wasn't right for her, but she thinks you've got potential.

It's absolutely fine to query her even if you stop looking for an agent for that first book.

This is another example of writers over thinking the query process and underestimating their own value.  All agents are looking for good work. You write good stuff. Trust me that she'll be glad to hear from you even if this second project isn't a good fit.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree on this. I have a few rejections that have that invitation to submit other work. You can bet Aunt Sally I will be. Man, don't ever open a gate if you don't want me to run through it.

Of course, I would love to find a home for Far Rider, but there's always a chance no one else may love the little darling like I do.

Ardenwolfe said...

A lot writers tend to forget that their first novel, usually the one they're shopping around for an agent with, is practice.

When an agent sees a writer has potential, but needs more experience, they note it.

You'll be shocked, if you've studied the craft like you should, much your writing will improve between novels when you first start out.

There's a reason authors never want their first attempts at writing to ever see the light of day.

Colin Smith said...

I would assume it's always safe to query an agent if you don't have one, regardless of where you are in the publishing journey. So if you're unpublished, self-published, signed with a small press, or in between agents, there's no harm in querying to find an agent.

Of course, within that there are caveats, especially if you're already published. In that case, from what I gather, as long as you are querying something other that what you've already published, you're okay.

And if you're querying an agent who already likes your work and wants to see more, all the better!

All the best to you, writer friend! :)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

What a lot of trouble we have with those inevitable rejections.

I submitted to a short-story contest and received a rejection. This month, I re-read that rejection, realized it was personalized and encouraged me to resubmit in the future. Why didn't I notice that the first time I read it?

So thankful for websites like this, particularly this one, where the Shark shares her savvy and critiques, helping us poor woodland creatures get real.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

After a rejection like that I would have sent more work before the ads on my computer screen finished loading.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Carolynn, I've never heard that one before.

Ardenwolf, that's a good point. The first novel is practice. I'm happy I threw the first three in the city dump. I look forward to finally quering and learning first hand about this part of the process. Then on the next one.

The Shark's answer seems like the end of winter in the woodlands.

Is it still snowing over there?

Anonymous said...

And this is why we should always be writing, writing, writing, so we have something else ready, ready, ready.

This questioner is positioned nicely to keep right on querying, and I wish them well. It's simply a bonus that Ms. Janet said "You write good stuff." That's all I'd ever need to hear, and then someone would have to try and yank me off cloud nine.

Well. AND an editor saying it.

That would be good.

Anonymous said...


Yes, "You write good stuff." is nice. However....

I got that from a "dream agent". I love your world building, your voice is great, the sample is sharp and clear. It's good writing. I just didn't connect with it.

And you go. "Hmmm. That mysterious 'it' is missing yet again."

Maybe I'll take up knitting.

Anonymous said...


True. The elusive "it" factor strikes again.

Hey! There's an "it" in knitting!

Anonymous said...


"Hey! There's an "it" in knitting!"

That's true. On the plus side. I think eight indie publishers have requested it off contests now. After the Nightshade debacle I'm backing away faster than a rope horse. I'm sure some of them, probably most of them, are wonderful. I'm just head shy.


The Sleepy One said...

An agent I'd love to work with gave me this same basic message about a year and a half ago when she rejected on a full, so I queried her a few months ago with another project. Which she requested . . . then rejected, but told me to query her with my next project. I'm taking her at her word because she's now read two fulls, and while they weren't quite right, she's also opened the door to future (professional) contact. I've had several agents say this on my current project, which I'm taking as a good sign even though the rejections are demoralizing (especially when I had enough requests on full that I didn't have enough fingers to count on anymore and had to start using my toes as well).

The short version of my statement above: listen to Janet and take the request for future projects as a sign you're progressing in the right direction.

DLM said...

I apologize for being a thread hog, but ... when did Gossamer replace the sloth-in-a-bucket over here to our right??? I usually don't keep my internet window open full screen, and am mortified if he's been over there for long and I never noticed!

Okay, closing apology/shutting up now.

Sarah S said...

As always, such good advice.

Jenz said...

DLM, I think it was just in the past week. Somewhat recently, anyway.

I've gotten "hope to see more from you in the future" in a couple of rejections for short stories lately (from pro markets). Does anyone use that line in form rejections? Or can I take that as genuine encouragement?