I have a manuscript I've been querying for a year, and in the latter half of that year received a few full manuscript bites after I finally nailed down the query. However, none of the reads have resulted in an offer. As the rejections piled up, I realized that my style was there and my characters were on point (both have been praised across the board--phew!) but my plot had significant issues (only one agent pointed it out, the rest glossed over reasons why they rejected it).
I've finally decided that I need to scrap about 85% of the plot and rewrite from scratch. New location, new inciting incident, new MC background, and new motivations for the villain. Three major things stay close to the same: the characters' personalities, their relationships, and the way the supernatural powers work in this world.
Here's where I hit a brick wall: I've already queried HUNDREDS of agents for this genre. To be honest, I think I've gone through almost every known legitimate agent located in the USA that I can find for this project alone. I'd be sending this query to several, of not those hundreds, of the same agents.
Is this advisable? Since the plot is different but the characters are more or less the same, is this a new query or a requery? The title is unique (a made-up word) and the same (as it's something central to the story). The genre is the same. The character names are the same (and are fairly unusual). Is this too likely to earn me an automatic rejection for "requerying" the same manuscript even though it's an entirely new plot from the ground up? Or is the change big enough that I could call it a "new" query and treat it as such?
That odd pain in your hairline is me smacking you upside the head.
There's a pretty obvious solution to your problem here, but you're too close to it to see.
Change the title.
Change the names of the characters.
I can hear you screeching in agony at this idea. I know, you worked hard to get the perfect title, and you worked to find great names for your characters.
Are you going to let that get in your way?
Authors have to lose things they love All The Time. Titles. Covers. Character Names. Might as well start practicing now.
If you change all this, its a brand new query, and of the previous query we shall never speak again.
If you can't bring yourself to adhere to this advice, it's still a new query, but chances are we'll notice that this isn't the first time we've met your book.
The leader of the volunteer program at my church used to stand up and ask us "do you have an hour for Jesus this week?" which kind of made it impossible to say no to any task she needed done.
I'll riff on that by asking you "are you willing to let go of things you love to get your book to the next level?"