I have written what is, according to everyone who's seen it, a very good query letter. ("Everyone who's seen it" includes a respectable agent, who read it and requested the manuscript. Hooray!)
The problem is that I wrote the query letter before revising the novel, and now the "hook" in the query letter takes place in the second half of the novel. I should rewrite my query letter, right? But the first half of the manuscript isn't as hooky. I worry that if I rewrite the query letter to reflect the beginning of the novel, I won't get requests; but that if I send the current query letter and do get requests, agents won't like the book because they'll be expecting something that doesn't happen for another two hundred pages. Thoughts?
You're right to worry.
When I get a query that talks about choices and stakes for the character, I'm expecting to see those choices and stakes pretty quickly in the novel.
That's because your query is about the START of your novel.
It's about the START of the plot, what choices the main character faces, and what's at stake with those choices.
If it takes 200 pages to get to that, the problem is NOT the query, it's the novel.
If the query talks about something that happens on page 200, I'm going to be perplexed. That's
not the reaction you want.
And the problem is not that the agent won't like the book, it's that they'll stop reading and pass.
Obviously something compelled you to rewrite the book after you thought it was done. I'm not sure what "isn't as hooky" means but if it means the plot doesn't really start on page one ....
"Nothing happens for the first X pages" is a comment I've written to authors more times than any of us care to know. If you hear "the pacing is off" this is one of the things it means.
Start your novel where the story starts.
Tell me about that in the query.
Here's an example: Gone With the Wind starts when Scarlett O'Hara learns Ashley Wilkes is going to marry Melanie Hamilton.
It' does not start with Ashley meeting Scarlett. Or with Gerald O'Hara coming to Georgia. Or Ellen Robillard agreeing to marry him. All those events are the start of the timeline, but they are NOT the start of the story.
The main character is Scarlett and novel starts when (to her way of thinking) her life takes an abrupt left turn.