Thursday, September 25, 2014

Query Question: more on starting over

 I’m hoping you can help me with a dilemma. A little over a year ago, I queried a novel and received several offers of rep and came close with a few other agents. I accepted one of the offers and the agent has shopped my book around. We’ve come heartbreakingly close, but have had no offers on the book.

In the meantime, I wrote a second book, which my agent is not enthusiastic about (and that is a tale of woe best saved for another day). Because of this, we have parted ways amicably. As sad as I am to be agent-less, I feel savvier now and am excited about the possibilities. I know, from reading past posts on your blog, that since I am querying a brand new book, I don’t need to mention my previous representation in queries, but that it may come up should I receive an offer.

My question is a bit different. I would like to requery the 2 agents who did not offer on my first book, but came close. One of them said “if you ever find yourself without representation, I hope that you will think of me.” The other stopped short of saying that, but gave me extensive positive feedback and was extremely encouraging. Is it okay, in either case, for me to reply to their emails from over a year ago, or personalize a new email, letting them know that I have a new novel that I am seeking representation for, and then launch into my query pitch? Or should I start fresh with both? I don’t want to be unprofessional, but I also don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.

There's nothing unprofessional about a polite concise email that says "hey, it's your lucky day Snookums, I got rid of that lesser hack, and now I want you." "your email of Date said to be in touch if I found myself without an agent, and thus hello, here I am."

This happens with enough frequency that no one is surprised to get these kind of emails at all.  You'll mention the book they read is not the book you're querying for now; this new book has not been on submission.  

I hope you're not writing in a new or vastly different category cause that would have an impact on their willingness to read.  Example: if you queried me on a thriller, I'm not going to read a romance on the second time around.

As long as your emails are polite and concise you're fine.  Unprofessional is calling my office, or sending the manuscript without a request. You've proposed neither of those things, so I'm confident you're going to do just fine.

(It's the people who worry about being unprofessional who never are.  The other ones...well, they make good stories.)



Anonymous said...

I've worried about this happening to me - and yep, I know, writers are notorious for being worry warts over stuff we shouldn't even think about till we need to, yet..., I still do. When I wrote my second book (nervous energy while the first was still on submission) my agent eventually told me he didn't like it as much as the first. *I got a cringe factor of epic proportions that took me weeks to shake* I'm glad he stuck with me - b/c he could have easily said sayonara. The current WIP of which he's only read the first 100 pages, fortunately, has grabbed his attention - he loved them. Whether he'll love the rest, IDK yet. If not, I could find myself right here. Anyway, I suppose all agents have their way of working with clients. It just seems if this writer was able to interest them enough in the first place with their writing, they might allow another try at writing something else. Either way, this person seems fairly well situated for obtaining another agent considering the feedback they had during the query process.

Ardenwolfe said...

"(It's the people who worry about being unprofessional who never are. The other ones...well, they make good stories.)" . . . So very true.

DLM said...

For the life of me, any possible reason NOT to requery enthusiastic agents is just beyond my wee and paltry little brain. It's not a shooting offense; worst-case, they're no longer enthusiastic.

We're not up against blacklisting, short of outright rudeness and bad behavior. So, with no plan to throw public tantrums at anyone, why wouldn't this author requery?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I have queried and required so many projects so many times, I'm probably one of those 'story' people Janet mentions. Problem was, in the beginning I didn't know better and problem is now, well, I don't think I have a problem now. I think I've figured things out. I'm happy in my own little delusional world, it's nice here.

Unknown said...

It is ironic that if you worry, you needn't worry. But if you don't worry, you need to worry.

Lance said...

Since it's been brought up, could you list the shooting offenses? James Ticknor, it's a catch.