Saturday, September 08, 2018

No? How about this?

Do you find it odd when an author queries two projects back-to-back? Due to revision work, I have two novels ready for submission at the same time. I know each project must be queried on its own merits, so as long as I treat each individually, does it matter if I query the same agent with both, one right after the other? (Separate query letters, of course, and neither one makes a reference to the other.) Is there any reason I shouldn't do this?
Because I won't know anything about your revisions, I'll only know you queried a polished finished novel last week, and now this week you have another one.  I can intuit you've got a couple books in various stages of vision and revision, but seeing another novel this soon does give me pause.

There are enough agents in this world to stagger submissions such that sufficient time has elapsed between queries. I'd say six months or so.

This isn't any kind of industry standard. It's my sense of how to approach things. You might ask this of Jessica Faust over at BookEndsLLC. They're doing some very cool stuff on YouTube and they might be looking for questions just like this.

9 comments:

nightsmusic said...

I've not had this 'problem' (kudos to you for having two ready!) but to me, I would have to wonder as an agent, if the first query was an oops and the second was an edited/polished submission of the first. Even with a disclaimer, 'Dear Perfect Agent, I queried last night with my thriller about Joe Doe who finds a cure for cancer and is now being hunted by people who don't want it released. This query however is for an alien lemon seed that goes on a journey from tree to table, hypnotizing the woman who's plate he eventually lands on into taking him across the world to find his siblings,' would most likely make you look desperate. While we're all desperate to publish at some point, I'm not sure this is the best way to go about it. Just my two cents...

Kathleen Kalb said...

Staggering is smart. I've just been through this, querying multiple projects, and took the august Shark's wise advice not to come back at people while they remember why they said no to you. Or worse, to have them think Query #2 is an accidental resend of Query #1. It's happened. Eventually, I avoided that one with separate emails for each project. One exception to the rule, though: if you get a real, personal response that gives you the sense that they liked your writing and style, but not this particular project, you might try again soon because you've made a positive impression. Congratulations on having TWO shots at the brass ring!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Yup, checked it out. Love it. Sort of "a star is born" kind of agency. They've always been an agency at the top of my list to query. But, guess what, I came back here. Among us misfit, malcontent, confused rodent wheel writers...
home.

Colin Smith said...

I think there's wisdom behind the "one-at-a-time" approach. For starters, what if you found an agent interested in one book, and another agent interested in the other? You have just waaay over-complicated your life. You'll have to choose agents, or have two agents for different books--assuming those agents are willing to do that. (Isn't that like polygamy?!) And if you choose an agent, the agent you choose may not like the other book.

I say: choose the book you want to be known by. The one that you think would make the best debut, and really speaks to who you are as a writer. This may also be the one you think has the best chance of catching an agent's attention. It might not be. But *I* say choose the one that best defines you and query that one.

All the best to you Opie! Now excuse me while I pin your picture to my dartboard. I mean, two books ready to query? What kind of super-writer are you?? *grumblegrumblegrumble* ;)

Craig F said...

At one point in time I did have two queries out at the same time. One was sci-fi and one a thriller. They went to agents in completely different markets. I eventually decided both needed some thinking, so I stopped doing it.

The reason is that it took me a long time to cast my courage, and something else, in bronze. I have been writing for a long time but had not considered attempting to be published until recently. I have six almost polished, I don't like to polish the magic out, manuscripts hanging around.

I also had and have questions about where to put the most effort. My plan is for three trilogies. They will be somewhat in a chronological order and each trilogy has an ubervillain that runs through all three of the books in that particular trilogy, so I had two queries out at one time.

Sam Mills said...

This is a situation I might find myself in soon, so thanks for the question, OP. I spent a lot of time revising Novel A, then got cold feet. Instead of submitting it, I wrote Novel B. Then I got my nerve back, polished Novel A again, and sent it out.

So naturally now I'm editing Novel B while waiting for all the responses to Novel A. I don't mind playing it cool and sitting on the project for a few months to wait for straggler responses, but what do you think I'll be doing in the meantime? Writing Novel C!

At least it keeps my mind off my email... oh, and I suppose there's a possibility one of them gets picked up. XD

BrendaLynn said...

My goal in life is to be able to ask, “Which manuscript are you interested in?”
I’m easily entertained.

AJ Blythe said...

I think there are quite a lot of queriers who have more than one book ready to query at one time. It's a really easy position for a writer to find themselves in (as you've described). Unfortunately, you can't explain why it's reasonable to have two shiny mss ready to query, so you'll have to pace them. Start with one now and next year (after agent's have enjoyed an egg nog or four) get the other one on submission as well. Good luck!!

MA Hudson said...

If you’re really keen to query both books at the same time, just use two different email addresses. Maybe even change your name, or use initials. I don’t think it would be too much of a problem if you garnered interest from two different agents. I’m sure you could cross that bridge when you came to it....