Monday, November 19, 2018

You sorta liked me before

I had quite a few agents give me an R&R on my first novel, which I've decided to shelve for the time being after careful consideration of the feedback I've received. I'm about to start querying my second novel to many of those same agents. Should I mention that they gave me an R&R on my previous book, which I eventually decided not to follow through with? The overall opinion was that they loved my writing style/voice (which carries through into my new book) but had trouble with the plot and/or pacing (which hopefully doesn't). Would mentioning this in the query for my new book give me an advantage or disadvantage? Should I just leave it out and see if they remember me on their own?

This is counter-intuitive but don't mention the R&R.
You don't want to remind agents they saw a previous novel but didn't pounce on it.

Giving Book Two a clean start at the hurdles is my first choice.

You're under no obligation to refer to previous correspondence that didn't result in an offer.

If they bring it up, don't lie (you wouldn't of course, I just had to say that for the Artful Dodgers over there on the shady side of the racetrack.)

They may remember you; they may not. The only thing that matters is that Book Two has solved the problem of plot and pacing.


9 comments:

Jessica said...

Long time, no chat! I've become a lurker again :)

I'll add a counterpoint, OP. When I first started querying, it was a first book--made lots of mistakes, wrote in a "dead" genre (zombies), it wasn't standalone, etc. But one particular agent called me on the phone with an R&R. We talked at length and though I didn't follow through with the R&R, I mentioned it in my query to her. She responded that she definitely remembered me and requested a full in two days! Also, one agent said in her agency guidelines to mention any previous fulls she'd seen. I did, and she also requested the full. So if you have a personal connection at all, I don't see the harm in mentioning it! I'm looking for a patient agent who likes my warty, half-baked ideas as well anyway XD But that's just one experience and I'm not Janet by any stretch of the imagination :)

I hope everyone's doing well. Had to stop commenting because I'm overwhelmed, but I'm on a social media break now--who knew how much free time you could have by cutting out mindless-scrolling-through-FB time? I'm already feeling better. Have a good day!

Amy Johnson said...

Today's game of What Will Janet Say? was brief--less than a minute of pondering before digging into the answer, and I didn't even attempt a guess.

Best wishes for successful querying, OP. Sounds like you had a very good round with your first novel. I'm excited for you with the second round. Hope you'll let us know how things go.

Good to see you back, Jessica.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am kind of hoping that agents that saw my previous novel will NOT remember me. I am tempted to cast a forget about me spell across the agent world so I come across as new and shiny. I had some nibbles on first book but it was an effort I prefer not tied to this new book. I have such butterflies over diving into the query trenches again.

Good luck, OP. Let your new work speak for itself.

Craig F said...

It would be just my luck to be remembered as that recalcitrant writer who wouldn't do the R&R. I would probably try a new set of agents.

MA Hudson said...

Even though it worked for Jessica, I reckon in most situations it would be better to have a clean start. Why remind an agent about anything negative at all? It might make them feel uncomfortable and defensive when scrutinising your query as well as your potential as a client. Best keep them in an eager and hopeful mode for as long as possible.

AJ Blythe said...

I'm with MA and would start with a clean slate. I'd hate to remind them of my not-so-good craft elements because they'll probably look harder at that in anything new I subbed. Of course, the exception would be if they'd asked to see the next ms. Then I probably would mention they'd asked to see it.

Bethany Joy said...

I maintain I didn't get a new husband just so I could query under a fresh name, but my 1st novel did have a useless prologue followed by 30 page of tension-free "buildup" to what should have been the real opening, so make of that what you will.

but anyway...OP, good luck! I have high hopes for your queries this round because you're obviously committed to improving your craft and writing the best story possible.

Joseph S said...

Good question and interesting answer. I had no feel for which way the answer would go.

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