I am following up on a letter from last month. I was published by the same “imploding” press referred to in that letter and wonder exactly how terrible it would be to query the novel formerly published by Asbestos Underpants, LLC (a name many of us quite enjoy, by the way). It was submitted and accepted by the pub as a novel but was chopped into four e-novellas, each made available months, and sometimes years, apart. Reviewers' only complaints were that they wanted to read the whole thing, and I’ve always wondered how the book would have fared as a complete novel. Is querying this possible, now that I have all rights to it back, or do I need to venture into the world of self-publishing, which, frankly, scares me?
There's a third option. Query agents for a new novel then, when you're actually talking to one of my lucky colleagues about representation, mention this little orphan as part of your literary inventory.
When I begin negotiations with a writer (are you prepared to drink a lot of bourbon? Do you know all the words to The Music Man? Does the phrase "safety deposit box" give you the hives?) one of the other questions I ask is "what else ya got in your quiver there, Archer?"
When I sign authors it is generally for the novel they queried. However, I know that my evil plans for world domination (crime publishing division) are sometimes thwarted by editors taking leave of their senses and not buying my stuff. When that happens, it's Plan B to the rescue and Plan B is what we discussed when we talked about what else you had.
A quick rundown of my current client list shows five current clients who queried for Book A, and their first published book was or will be Book Not A.
Another option is to use a pitch session at a writing conference to talk about this project with agents. It will be very useful if we can engage in conversation about this book rather than you just querying it and me seeing "previously published" and hitting the "nope" key.
One thing about publishing: it's fluid. One bout of bad luck here will not end your career. What this will give you instead is the first of many great publishing stories, which you tell in the bar at a conference years later and we all groan and moan and swill bourbon.