Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Resubs when an agent has changed agencies

Last year I queried Agent X, but ended up withdrawing the query when I embarked on a substantial revision. Agent X responded that they were going to request the manuscript, and asked to be informed when it became available.

While I revised, the agent changed agencies.

New manuscript in hand, I reached out to Agent X to ask if they were still interested. (I know you've said before to assume that the agent IS still interested, but due to the agency change the email chain was broken and I didn't want to send what might be considered an unsolicited attachment). I pasted in the original email chain and sent it to the agent's regular email address.

My conundrum: Agent X has separate query and contact email addresses. Should I have emailed the query address instead? How long I should wait for a reply before trying again at the query email address in case the email ended up in a spam filter? (Should I even do so? The new agency is a No Response Means No agency, but this wasn't technically a query, was it?)

You could actually be talking about me here since this is exactly what happened when I moved to New Leaf last summer. And yes that was a query.

Given the agent has expressed interest already, sending it to the direct email is probably the best choice. However, if you don't hear back, sending a query, mentioning her/his previous interest is a good Plan B.

If you don't hear back in a reasonable amount of time (60 days) chalk it up to changed circumstances and move ahead with your submission list.

Here's what you don't know: when an agent moves agencies sometimes the things s/he is looking to acquire also change. What I acquire here at New Leaf isn't based entirely on what I want. We also look at what the agency as a whole wants to add to our quiver, AND who else here is doing books in categories I'm also working in.  In other words, Agent X might have a different set of acquisition parameters now.

What that means: QUERY WIDELY with this spiffy new manuscript. It's incumbent upon Agent X to reply to you in some sort of fashion or s/he's going to be out of luck when Agent NimbleToes signs and sells your work. And given I know your work, that's not some sort of pipe dream.


kathy joyce said...

"And given I know your work, that's not some sort of pipe dream."
Yowzah! Print that out in BIG BOLD letters and superglue it to the bathroom mirror! With so much rejection in writing, it's lovely to hear compliments, even for someone else. Good luck!

Theresa said...

Wow! This is all kinds of good news for OP! Fingers crossed for quick querying success.

Colin Smith said...

Congrats, Opie, on the interest in your work! And since Janet knows who you are (and perhaps the rest of us would if we knew your name, which is kind of redundant because if we knew your name we would all know who you are, even if we don't know you... but how well does anyone really know anyone? I mean, I can tell you that Batman is really Bruce Wayne, but does that really make any difference? I think this is a digression... wait, let me find the point... it was here somewhere. Ah! Ouch! It was a pointy point...) that's even more awesome because she knows that interest has to be genuine given the quality of your work.

Which leads me to my question... does this fall into the "believe what you're told" category? You know, where we woodland creatures get it into our heads that when an agent says our work is bucking frilliant, we smile, roll our eyes, and say "She's just being nice," while we feed the manuscript to the hamster. Only in this case, the agent says, "I want to see your micking franuscript!" and we say, "sure, you think that now, but in ten minutes you won't care... and when you change agencies, you'll barely even remember your own client list, so why should you give me a second thought?" And I suppose the lesson is, when an agent says, "I love this," believe it. Even when they request a manuscript and then move to Carkoon to work for Kale Leaf Literary Agency (which specializes in hamster-masticated manuscripts, btw). Send the manuscript with a reminder of what they said, and assume that initial desire still holds true. It'll be like meeting up with your high school sweetheart twenty years later, and they still look good, and you're both still single. :)

Time for a morning cuppa, I think... :D

DLM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet Reid said...

I joke around with insults.
I do not joke around with compliments.

Also, we need some ideas for the 100th writing contest.

DLM said...

One thing I note here is that no matter whether this is "right" or "wrong", the approach was professional and polite. That's perhaps the most important part.

WAY TO GO on that closing assessment from our Queen, Opie. Dayum/WOO! :)

kathy joyce said...

Holy guacamole Colin! Your post was before caffeine? Do you write an entire manuscript after a couple'a cuppas....

kathy joyce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Bodenheim said...

Rawr! Hear all us transformed woodland critters roar for you, Opie. What a great closing line from our Queen.

It's snowing so I'm not driving to visit this morning which means I can focus on my WiP after a (basically) month (wait, was it two) away.

What a great post to start March 1. Love it.

Colin Smith said...

Kathy: Oh, I have no problem vommenting. Verbal diarrhea is a condition I have lived with for a long time. It's when I have to turn that incoherent mess of language into something that has structure, voice, maybe even a hint of a plot, and perhaps a dash of entertainment... that's the quickest way to constipation for me. :)

The 100th: Reminder--this will be the writing contest after next. The next contest will be #99. And according to my wife, whose math skills are unassailable, 99 + 1 = 100. Which means, if you take a date to the next contest, it'll be 100... wait... no?

IDEAS!! Sorry... easily distra--SQUIRREL! Ummm... of course, I've always thought it would be interesting to see how other agents would judge the stories. Not that we don't value QOTKU's thoughts. But to make the point that just because one agent doesn't like something, doesn't mean other agents won't love it. Perhaps get the New Leaf team involved in the contest judging for #100? Before there is wholesale revulsion at the idea, there have been guest judges in the past. There was a Halloween contest four or five years ago that I believe Barbara Poelle guest judged. And QOTKU did call upon Veronica Roth to help judge the DIVERGENT contest.

If you think that's a bad idea, come up with something better! *sound of gauntlet hitting the floor* :D

Colin Smith said...

Oh, and can I also suggest for the next contest that someone hold Nate Wilson's imagination hostage to give the rest of us a chance? ;)

Dena Pawling said...

>>Here's what you don't know: when an agent moves agencies sometimes the things s/he is looking to acquire also change.

Does this mean I can query you with my MG now? Not that I've had a chance to actually work on it much recently. I changed jobs and it's taking all my “free time” just to figure out the stupid computer software. I HATE computers. And I had to buy a new dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer, and the first two dryers we had delivered were defective so now we're waiting on a third one. Then I spent most of last night at the ER with my #3. Thanks for all the good wishes yesterday. Nothing broken and he's home. Gonna have two whopping bruises today. He was walking to the bus stop to come home yesterday [community college] when two cars collided and one of them spun around and hit him. It was his first time in an ambulance and a hospital, and they gave him meds so his pain level was tolerable, so he considered it kind of an adventure. His ER doctor was a funny guy, GREAT bedside manner.

Congrats to OP for the nice compliment there! Keep querying and I'm sure you'll get lots of interest.

100th writing contest? Hmmmmm. Colin's idea sounds good. Or maybe stories which include a character named Janet? Or stories about writers tormenting agents?

Colin Smith said...

Dena: Pain meds. When I had a kidney stone, they put me on morphine at the hospital, and gave me Percocet to take home while I waited for the blessed thing to pass. OH MY GOODNESS. After such intense pain, that stuff was... it's like going without food for a week, and then eating chocolate. You go from feeling like someone is driving six inch nails into your kidney, and not caring how often the mallet actually hits the nail, to feeling like you are floating on a sea of whipped cream, while angels gently stroke your skin. Thankfully I didn't get addicted to the stuff, but I can see how it happens. I am glad your boy's okay, though. As you say, the bruises will pass, but he'll have a great story to tell. :)

The 100th: Characters named Janet and stories about writers tormenting agents? Hmmm... it has possibilities. I'm still liking my multi-agent judging idea. Maybe have each judge offer a book as a prize, so if they all select a different winner, more than one person gets a prize. But if they all select the same winner, then someone gets a nice parcel in the mail. :)

RKeelan said...

The rules for the 100th contest should be exactly the same as normal, but the word limit should be a hundred times a hundred.

On an unrelated note, I need a ticked to Carkoon—anyone have a spare?

BJ Muntain said...

Like DLM said, a professional approach is always best. Any time you're not particularly sure of the etiquette, you really can't go wrong being professional, polite, and respectful. People will forgive a lot of things if you're nice about it.

Oooh. Ideas for the 100th contest? Let's see...

We could try for 100 entries - we could all broadcast the contest on our various social media, and see how many people we can pull in.

But that may cause more work for our Queen, in having to read all those 100-word-pieces. Hmm.

We could do drabble fiction, where the word count has to be exact. For instance, instead of 100 words or fewer, the stories would have to be EXACTLY 100 words.

Possible topics/words: century/centuries, celebration, parties, pizza, joy, happiness, alcohol (Janet's choice), etc.

Or maybe a poetry contest... Just for something different.

I'd really like to give Janet a bottle of her favourite adult beverage to celebrate, but I have no way to do that. It may have to wait until the next time I can get to NYC.

Have I risked Carkoon?

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

I have to feed pigs and a little band of donkeys before coffee or the computer. I just sat down, and when I read that closing sentence from Janet... Wow. What a terrific and uplifting compliment. That's gotta feel good, OP. Me thinks you ought to add New Leaf to your query list.

Dena, How terrifying. So glad your son is okay.

Colin... I wish you could've seen the look on my face as I read your comment. A combination of astonished amusement with a bit of amazed awe.

Colin Smith said...

BJ: The book title poetry contest was a lot of fun. That would require a lot of work to judge, though, and it would involve pictures which would mean it wouldn't appear on the spreadsheet which would be a bit strange--the 100th contest according to the spreadsheet not being eligible to appear on the spreadsheet. Of course, one way around that would be for us all to post pictures of our book title poems on our own blogs, and post the URL in the contest comments. That would have the added bonus of giving attention to our own online spaces (blogs, instagram, whatever...). It would also mean Janet wouldn't have to post the pictures (which was a lot of the work last time). It's a thought. And if you've no idea what this "book title poetry" thing is, it's basically what it says. You take a pile of books and you make a poem out of the titles. And to prove the titles are real, you take a picture of those books stacked on top of each other so their spines form the poem.

Janet: I'm presuming that we have a Carkoon amnesty with regard to 100th contest ideas? In other words, people can suggest whatever they want without fear of retribution...? Or are you counting on fear as a catalyst for inspiration? :)

Colin Smith said...

Melanie: I've heard women say kidney stone pain is almost as bad as childbirth. Some say it's worse. Of course, I couldn't make such comparisons. But who knew empathy could be such a strong contraceptive? ;)

(Seriously, I think we had decided to stop at six pre-stone. But it wouldn't surprise me if such experiences provoked such decisions...)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

A couple of 100th FF idea

*similar to a recent FF--based on another poem of Janet's liking
*based on overused character trope(s) from mystery or crime which we then need to make fresh and new and fun/horrifying
*something based on one of Janet's narrative non-fiction areas that she likes

DLM said...

Contest using titles from her authors as prompts (has this been done?). Breach, Numb, Brains ... there are some pretty juicy options.

Colin Smith said...

DLM: There have been contests where a specific author's work has inspired the prompt words (e.g., the recent Loretta Ross contest, where the prompt words were drawn from her three novels). But I don't recall one that drew from all her clients' work.

Beth said...

Best of luck, OP. I'm looking forward to hearing good news from you in the coming months

BJ Muntain said...

Colin: I saw that book poetry contest! But I meant actual poetry. Maybe limericks. Limericks are easy and fun. And short. Haiku, too, but I prefer limericks.

Colin Smith said...

BJ: What about song parodies? ;D

RosannaM said...

Query widely, indeed OP as those are words to hang your hat on. Way to go!

So, hmm. Contest ideas. I think something that raises the difficulty level would be a mighty fine challenge. Like keep the five words, but restrict us to a particular genre and theme or maybe say we had to include something additional like two pairs of rhyming words, or some # of lyrics to Janet's favorite song.

Just a suggestion. Now I have to go clean up the mess an opossum made when it dumped the little compost trash can on our back deck. Coffee grounds, orange peels, other oogy, goopy items.

DenaScary! I am glad your son is okay. And what a great attitude--he now has such a good story to tell his buddies.

Janice Grinyer said...

"Go forth and submit", Opie! Always good words to hear, and when they come from JR, you know you are getting great advice.

Kate Larkindale said...

For the 100th contest, how about no repeats. Each of the 100 words has to be unique… Really makes you think about whether you need that 'the' or 'that'!

kathy joyce said...

100th: So many fun ideas. I think it should be something funny, either by (parentheticals are examples): topic (funny story), style (satire, parody), voice (funny narrator), or device (spoonerisms).

I also love one-sentence stories. Maybe ask for three to five that also make up a separate story as a whole.

Whatever we choose, I really like the idea of a cast of judges. They don't need consensus. Every judge picks his/her own winner(s).

Dena, glad your son is okay. All, hope your day gets better and better.

Donnaeve said...

Off with Kate to Carkoon! Ha! That makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

Dena Yikes. Now add about one hundred exclamation points. Glad he's okay.

Colin You are a mess. I laughed so hard at your comment. Vomment. Whichever. You insane man, you.

OP Why am I thinking you're Nate? That last FF, maybe? Then again, given the writing chops out here - it could be ANY ONE OF THE REEF DWELLERS. Either way, whoever you are, you can now float about the day (week/year/rest of your life) after such a compliment.

100th contest. Since it's supposed to be celebratory maybe the words are cake, champagne, fireworks, parade, and trophy.

IDK. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the 100.

Lennon Faris said...

Wow, OP, that is an incredible compliment (from the other agent and from Janet). Way to go, no matter what happens next!!

Dena - so glad to hear your son is OK. How scary! Good docs are so wonderful.

100th contest ideas - how a ff where we write about something we want to do before we're 100?

Lennon Faris said...

...that is, how *about*

Amy Johnson said...

Colin, Your comment from 7:42 was hilarious!

Dena, I'm so glad your son is okay.

I spent the morning writing a flash piece. I'm grateful, Janet, for all the opportunities you give us to write FF, and I'm grateful for all the great examples here of how to do it right.

BJ Muntain said...

Colin: I can do song parodies. Maybe as good as you can, if I have the right inspiration. :)

Karen McCoy said...

Definitely bookmarking this post for later. It's always good to know there can be a plan B (or J, or X).

For the 100th: Since I've been working part-time as a tutor, words with silent letters have fascinated me lately. Perhaps the prompts can be words like through knife whistle tomb castle with the option to build new words from the silent letters...

Karen McCoy said...

Dena, how scary! So glad your son is okay.

Colin Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Smith said...

Karen: Ooo! How about stories that ONLY use silent letters! :D I'm crusin' for Carkoon, aren't I? Any moment, I'm going to get a "Fut the Shuck up" email from Janet... sorry, Nate seems to have vofected my incabulary..

Craig F said...

First let me offer belated congrats to Nate, Richelle and everyone else who entered.

Dena: Keep a close watch out for a few days. Make sure nothing shows up that wasn't noticeable at first.

100th: it should be something to celebrate our Queen. How about she lifts prompts from the first book she sold. Let it run full circle.

OP: sounds like you are close. Good Luck.
P.S.: I hope the revision wasn't something like rewriting the whole thing in 1st person to see what it looks like.

Karen McCoy said...

Colin: Your incabulary is fine, so long as it doesn't bock the roat. I hope we haven't! :)

The Sleepy One said...

Good luck OP! These sorts of querying issues are frustrating, but keep going. You'll do great. :)

Side note, is anyone else going to Bouchercon in Toronto? I'm now formally registered.

Susan said...

I'm trying to keep up with the comments, but I feel like I don't know what's happening here. So I'll be quick today...

OP: That is awesome news for you. Good luck!

Dena: So sorry to hear about your son. How scary! I hope all is well.

100th contest: Whatever it is, yes please!

OT: I wanted to share that I'm almost finished writing a new book for which I got the idea and started writing exactly two weeks ago. I'm not a fast writer--I like to take my time with my words--but this has come fast and furious, and I've been working feverishly to get it all down before it fades. I haven't felt this way about writing since I was a teenager--and all because I'm getting out of my own way and listening to the story tell itself. I honestly didn't know writing could feel like this anymore. I'm sharing because I hope it encourages someone here: if you're having doubts or feeling blocked, surrender to the story. Trust that it'll lead you.

Man, I forgot how much I love this work.

Happy Wednesday, all!

Colin Smith said...

Susan: I'm trying to keep up with the comments, but I feel like I don't know what's happening here.

Me neither. :)

And if I could like your post, I would. Consider it liked. Favorited. Applauded. Loved. Hugged.

Congratulations! I hope this book turns out as awesome as THE LAST LETTER. :)

Susan said...

Colin: LOL! These days where the comments take on a life of their own are some of my favorites. It's like hanging out at the water cooler at work where I like to listen but don't know how to contribute ;)

And thank you! That's so nice! <3

E.M. Goldsmith said...

At risk of joining Kate Larkindale on Carkoon, I really like the idea of 100 unique, no repeat words as the challenge for 100th contest.

And though I am beginning to suspect Colin pines for Carkoon, I love his idea of multiple agents judging. I respect our queen absolutely but I am curious to see what sways other agents. I am assuming they don't all share a brain or anything.

As for agents changing agencies, this seems pretty common. I am not in quite same situation as OP. I will be querying a new book. So I guess that's a fresh start but I will be reviewing all the agents who showed interest in my last book to see if they moved, are still alive, and what their current wants and needs might be.

So excited for 100th flash contest. Just hoping it's not weekend of March 10th-12th as that is weekend my daughter moves to New York. Not sure I will have energy for it after how busy we are getting her ready at same time as I am downsizing.

But even if that's how it works out, looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Colin Smith said...

Elise: I'm hoping QOTKU is giving us amnesty so we can freely throw ideas around. :D As for the multiple agents, I think Joanna Volpe would be on board. We used her conference room, after all, and I believe that forged a transcendental, even supernatural bond between us, connecting us on a higher sphere such that we are as two waves traveling the great cosmic plane in harmonious concord, our minds as one, our spirits joined in purpose... Alternatively I could bribe her with some of Sarah's cake. :D

As for the timing of the 100th Contest, I'm rather partial to Friday, March 24th. No particular reason... :D

Colin Smith said...

TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC (yeah, that seems a bit redundant today): I posted this on Twitter, but since not everyone follows my Twitter account... *sniff*... I'm posting the link here, because it's awesome:

Stephen King: The Desk--an extended quotation from ON WRITING in the form of a comic strip.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin Yes to all that. So much yes. And cake. Let there be cake. A contest with cake. There should definitely be cake

Steve Stubbs said...

OK, OK, who is this OP? I want to be sure to read her book when it comes out. As for Agent X, not to worry. That one is a good egg. No Plan B needed.

Also kudos to Richelle. And Nate, too. The entries were all so great it was hard to choose, but I thought Richelle would come in the winner.

When each sock came off, it was accompanied by a report that sounded like a shotgun going off. Tough on my socks, but there were no powder burns on my feet. The neighbors thought somebody had been shot, but I explained to the police I had just read a double barreled contest entry on the Janet Reid blog. They smiled and said it happens all the time. Lots of people read the Janet Reid blog around here. It would save the JC Penney company except that they are not the only ones who sell replacement socks. said...

Wow, OP, congrats on the major compliment and best of luck with the query process! You need to let us know what happens.

Dena, what a horrifying phone call that must have been. So relieved to hear your son wasn't badly hurt.

The 100th FF contest? How did that happen? I haven't entered all of them, but how is it possible there have been so many? I love the idea of multiple agents judging, especially if they provide commentary the way Janet does. What fun, plus an opportunity for Janet to boss people arou-- er, charmingly coerce her colleagues. And whoa, some of these other ideas here are sort of restrictive and would be a real challenge.

How about each entry containing 100 things. A hundred years, or voices, or ideas. Oooh, how about a hundred things without actually using the word "hundred." Like 10 rows of 10. Or 10 decades. Or fifty people in the audience, every eye focused on the speaker. Or an hour and forty minutes. It would be interesting to see all the creative/obscure ways to come up with a hundred things without using the word. Or maybe I've had a glass of wine and that's just weird.

Belated congrats to Nate and Richelle! And to everyone else mentioned. I was so impressed by all the stories. These contests just keep getting more intimidating. Good practice in not giving a fuck and just doing it anyway (says she who hasn't entered in a while) (hey, I've been writing other fiction).

Nate Wilson said...

Colin, I had no idea Spooner Syndrome could be caught over the web. I'm so sorry. Or possibly proud.

And wow, you'd go so far as to suggest handicapping me in the next contest? Very well, I accept. Whether Janet adds a formal Nate-specific rule, or you (or another Reider) comes up with a worthy inhibitor, I shall abide by it.

Donnaeve, alas no, I am not the OP. A drabble and a full manuscript are completely different animals, and I've only managed to tame the wee one as yet. Though I wish the true OP all the best.

Colin Smith said...

Nate: Of course, in the true spirit of competition, I would not wish any inhibitor to be placed upon you. In fact, to show my good will, I'll gladly take you out for a drink or two, or three, or nine prior to the next contest. Say, an hour before...? ;-)

Nate Wilson said...

Colin, that's too bad. I was already looking forward to the challenge. Of course, slipping out of the house for nine drinks at 8 am will be a challenge in of itself...

Heather Wardell said...

Back somewhere around 2008, QOTKU responded to my query about a reality-show novel (think Survivor meets the Bachelorette) by stating two things: she wanted to drown everyone in the lagoon and go home, and she called me a good writer with talent and said I should keep going. I still frequently laugh about the first (best rejection ever) and still think about the second when I need a boost. It may not be wildly effusive but it's got me through 8 years of self-publishing and 20 novels so I'm still very grateful for it!