Wednesday, March 06, 2019

mea culpa


I inadvertently submitted queries for the same manuscript to two different agents at the same agency. The first one was last October to an agent I read about via a pitch party. (No response yet.) The second one was to an agent I read about a couple of days ago in a publishing newsletter I subscribe to. She's relatively new in the field and is trying to build her clientele.
Since my ms. fits one of the categories/genres she reps I did a bit more research and decided to query her. I keep a file of agents I query, but didn't realize until after I sent this query that, while she wasn't on my list, another agent at her agency was.
I'd like to apologize, but don't know if that's the appropriate thing to do. If it is, I don't know how. Since I queried through QueryManager, the only email address I have is query@QueryManager.com. Do I use that address and put the ms. title in the Subject line? I could guess at her email address based on the addresses listed on the agency website of three of the other six agents there, but just don't know if I should try to contact her. What do I do? Thanks!

First, get off the rodent wheel.

You're running yourself into a frenzy when you don't need to.

Look at the timeline: you queried Agent A in October.
That's more than 30 days ago.

Thus, Agent A has passed by default.
You're well within the parameters laid down in the Gentleperson's Guide to Correct Querying if you query the same agency some months later. PARTICULARLY someone new and building  her list.

Thus, you don't need to apologize for anything. Although, should the need arise, correct apologies are written, in your own hand, in black ink on white or cream colored notecards of quality stock. No kittens. No scalloped edges. Nothing that starts "if I offended you."

Now, for the sake of tormenting you further -- cause blood sport is always called for on Wednesdays -- let's assume you queried Agent B 29.75 days after you queried Agent A.

What to do?

Nothing.
What? What? I've violated at least 14 of the Rules for Civility in the Gentleperson's Guide to Correct Querying, and here is list of where you can find them in page order. 

 Did you call the agent a dodohead after she passed on your query?
No.

Did you subscribe the agent to Fecal Matter of the Month - the merchandising arm of the space farmers at Uranus.org?
well..no. (But, do you think they're on Etsy?)

Did you make a simple mistake that won't actually hurt anyone?
umm...yes? 
Right.
Stand down
Quit worrying.

There is no black list of writers for things like this.
Stuff happens.
Even stuff that the space farmers sell.

If this is the biggest mistake you make this week, or this year, you're doing well.

I'm here to tell you no one on the other side of the desk will notice or care.

What we DO notice and care about is if you query every agent at the agency at the same time.
You didn't do that. You didn't even come close.

9 comments:

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

OP... This probably happens more than we realize. I accidentally queried two agents at a "no from one is a no from all" agency, several months apart. I doubt they even noticed.

Let it go. And onward!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Melanie.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

This seems an easy mistake to make. Agents move around a lot. New ones are always coming in. I am building my list of agents to query and because the polishing on my WIP has taken so long, that list keeps shifting. There are at least a half-dozen agencies that have more than one agent that would fit nicely. I am having to choose using eeny-meany-mo, catch an agent by his toe...well, you get the picture.

Keep querying, OP. And best of luck.

Lennon Faris said...

Sometimes these posts remind us to just breathe!

Good luck, OP, hope the new agent loves it. I have adopted Melanie as well as my favorite saying of hers, which I know is repeating here: "ONWARD!"

Amy Johnson said...

Onward, indeed, OP. I love these posts where the takeaway (at least my takeaway) is that if we're conscientious enough to wonder if we did something wrong, we're probably fine.

Karen McCoy said...

Onward, indeed! Yet another reminder that mistakes can be a good thing.

But rest assured, you haven't made a mistake, it sounds like. :)

Craig F said...

So far Query Tracker has kept me pretty well organized. That and time. I have only been kicking the trenches for three weeks.

So, I have six queries out and just one rejection, so far. The day is young, though, and I will probably violate at least one such rule by the end of it.

As long as it is not one of those Agencies with a communal submission e-mail, it should be fine. For one of those I think six months, or so, would be better.

MA Hudson said...

I think this is one of those cases where an apology would be more of a pain for the recipient than the mistake was. If the agent even noticed the error, they probably didn’t even flinch and just moved on. If they then received an apology email or letter, they’d have to take time out of their busy day to figure out what the heck it was for.
You’re doing fine, OP. Good luck with the querying.

AJ Blythe said...

Take home... be a grown up and it should be okay. OP, I hope second agent loves it.

Thanks for the laugh, Janet.