After about two weeks of sending queries, I've gotten a couple personalized responses from agents who love my concept and didn't love the first chapter. So, I decided to see what the book would look like if I started the story a couple chapters later. I cut the first few chapters, and tested the new opening on a handful of betas (about 6). The response was enthusiastic.
Which brings me to my question: I still have about 15 queries outstanding, some to agents who I think would be a particular fit. Do I have to leave them alone and just hope they see something they like in the original sample, or can I follow up with the new chapter?
I obviously wouldn't bother agents who already sent a form reject, but for those still considering my work, is it bad query etiquette to say "I had an ah-ha moment! Please consider this chapter instead of the formerly-sent one."
I don't want to miss out because of an opening I don't feel any attachment to, but I also don't want to irritate agents.
Additional context: A number of the outstanding queries are requests from the #DVPit Twitter pitch contest, so I already know the concept resonates with those agents (which makes it feel more dire that I get them the best first chapter I can).
I always want to see your best work.
Therefore, I would rather have you let me know you've revised/improved, than not.
Even if I didn't feel that way, what's the worst thing that could happen here? You'd hear no twice, or more likely silence times two.
There's zero downside to letting an agent know you've revised as long as she has not already said no, nor the query window (30 days on those foul no response means no) has closed.
This does not mean you get to tinker endlessly. You get one revision here.
The revision you mention changes ALL of the pages you sent. If you are just moving words here and there, or punctuation, don't send new pages. If you're fixing mistakes like homonyms, then do.