I want to follow proper agent-writer etiquette, and I've rummaged through many a Google search trying to find the answer to this question:
Let's say you are lucky enough to receive more than one offer of rep from an agent. Happiness and joy! And you click with both Agent A and Agent B, but ultimately choose Agent B.
Two years go by, and the manuscript that got you the offers doesn't get picked up, but it also doesn't get shopped around much either. Only three editors see it before Agent B gives up on your manuscript, and since you weren't an easy sale, Agent B seemingly gives up on you. You and Agent B part ways.
Is there any hope in contacting Agent A and hoping for rep, or is said manuscript (and said agent) a lost cause because of the rejection?
Oh, how loud the lamentations when you realize you should have picked meeeee!
This happens more than you might imagine. Not always for the reasons you list, but I hear about this kind of email from writers Who Signed Elsewhere more than rarely.
My advice to the agents who are being requeried is to always have a conversation with the writer. Figure out what went wrong with Agent A. Figure out what the prospective client is now looking for with Agent Two. Take a gander at the sub list and see if there's money to be made.
Each case is so individual there's no real standard answer.
The answer to your question is however: yes of course you can reestablish communication. The worst thing that will happen is
It is not rude to do this.
What querying writers should remember whilst querying is that you may end up circling back to agents you said no to. It is of the UTMOST importance that the agent remember you as positive and professional.
Things that say Positive and Professional:
1. You gave all the agents considering your work a window of response time when you received an offer.
2. You notified them politely of your decision.
3. You did not immediately unfollow all the agents you were stalking on Twitter. (This is something other agents seem to care about. I don't. Follow/unfollow/mute/magnify it's all the same to moi.)
4. You did not add those agents to any sort of mailing list.
5. You were tactful in announcing your decision on Twitter: "I've signed with the BEST AGENT EVER" is seen with less glee than you might think by all of us you turned down.
6. You did not whine/moan/carry on in any public way about the travails of your experience with Agent A. In fact, no one reading your blog or tweet stream or Facebook posts would have a clue anything was other than hunky dory.
As to the viability of your manuscript that is too specialized a question to answer here. It depends on too many variables. It's probably best to assume it's not viable and you should query with a new project.
Opie, why not carefully retrace your steps? What's to lose?
All the agent can say is:
"I've been waiting for your email, I love you, you are going to be famous. Sign here for the movie deal."
"Thanks for thinking of me (again). Let me take a second look."
"Neener, neener, neener you shoulda' picked me first. Get lost"
"Send me chocolate and I'll read it again.
Very interesting. I have an acquaintance in a similar situation. He signed with an agent, everything seemed good, agent shopped the mss around, got a couple of bites, but author wasn't satisfied with terms of the proposed contracts. He told me he was thinking of finding a new agent who could find a better home for his mss. I wanted to say I didn't think that would work, but he wasn't asking for my opinion, so I didn't. I always feel sad for those orphaned projects.
Ouch. What an unexpected jab out of nowhere. I'm glad we have the Queen in our corner for advice.
Opie-what the Queen said. BUT, hopefully you've been working on something new? Because it is possible your current project might need to be put in a drawer while you focus on the new manuscript. And the great news is . . . you had offers from 2 agents on this piece, TWO. That means you have writing chops. So go to it. Because should a new agent sell your second piece, who knows the places that first manuscript can go!
The biggest thing I learned early on when I started working (which was a great, great many years ago now) is never, ever burn your bridges. It didn't matter if I was treated like a bug that needed to be squashed, I never burned those bridges. You just never know when you'll have to revisit the past. In your case, OP, I would absolutely contact Agent A and explain the situation, provided you didn't tell Agent A to f___ off, you got a much better deal. In that case, I would query a new story and NOT Agent A. Ever again. If, however, you were polite and reasonable when you contacted Agent A to let him/her know your decision, then the least Agent A will say is No Thanks. Since we as writers hear No Thanks in our everyday dealings, or at least it seems so, it shouldn't hurt too much.
Just this weekend at the James River Writers annual conference, Jason Tesauro hosted "The Agent Dating Game" and told the story of signing with, ahem, a certain Literary Lion ... and then, when that did not work out, eventually signing with Kimberly Cameron. He recounted this tale in the context of a dating relationship, with gifts of cheesecake and spirits, love notes and all. He went to Ms. Cameron with politeness, the right note of regret, and enthusiasm to work together, and they have been very happy apparently. :)
Situations like these: yet another lesson in professionalism. Bridge burning ≠ professional.
Opie: If this is your situation, then congratulations on finding representation for your work, even if it didn't work out. If it's not your situation, thanks--this is an interesting question, and Janet's response is golden. :)
It seems to me one key to how you re-approach Agent A is how full that submission list is. If Agent B didn't sub your ms to many places, I would think you could sign with Agent A for the same ms, could you? Janet? After all, it was that ms that got their attention in the first place. Maybe A feels like s/he could do a better job with it. Heck, if B only submitted to 2 or 3 editors, there's a good chance A can do a better job. However, if B was thorough with submissions, and your parting of ways was for other reasons, then you probably want to approach A with a new novel.
That's my take, anyway. :)
Sending to only three editors and then giving up seems like a crime. And just non-nonsensical.
I'm not assuming anything, OP, but could there be some other reason it didn't work out? Some people aren't great at communication/ conflict and would rather hang their hat on an 'easy' out. Obviously I don't THINK this is the case, just trying to speculate.
Also, if OP did decide to write something new as Lisa suggested, and query new mss, would OP have to mention anything about the former client/agent relationship? Maybe only in an offer of rep? Just curious.
Theresa, I'm perplexed about your friend who got a couple bites but wasn't satisfied with the terms of the contract.
That's what an agent is for: to negotiate the terms.
If your friend is turning down a negotiated contract (more than once?!) that's something that would be a red flag for me.
To put this in context: I've gotten offers that the author and I both agreed we would turn down because we didn't like the terms, but it was a mutual decision and I ended up selling the books elsewhere.
I can’t see what harm there is in revisiting agents if you part way with agent 1 (as long as this was a mutual break). I suppose it might be a good idea to have a new project ready to go. Although, I would certainly visit the agent OP passed on just to get his or her take.
Theresa Your story has me wondering what your friend’s expectations were for their contract, especially if this was a debut work. You do hear about debut authors getting five figure deals (or rarely better), but I have the impression this is the exception and not the norm. Also, an agent wants the writer to make as much money as possible because the more money the writer makes, the more Scotch the agent can buy, and they will have less need for broomsticks to steal cookies. My guess the agent will do everything they can to get the best deal for a writer because more cookies. I could be wrong.
OT I am going to take a stab at NanoWrimo next month. Are any of you doing that? I’m probably crazy for trying it as I am also doing workshop but I want this new book finished, at least a working draft completed by the end of the year so I can be working on solid revisions in the New Year.
QOTKU beat me to the punch. I had this line ready as a cc/paste in order to say HUH? ---> "author wasn't satisfied with terms of the proposed contracts"
That's what I thought too - this is exactly what agents are for, and I wish this writer a lot of luck. He's going to need it.
On Topic: I bet OP did all the right things, and can quickly check off all the things QOTKU listed with confidence. I'm curious too about the ms, and can it still be shopped? I think I recall in other posts where once shopped = file 13. Maybe it's different in this case - because only 3 editors were approached.
Here's what's funny too. Writers are expected to query widely and this could mean well over a hundred agents. And then an agent only sends out to three editors? I realize there's a finite # of editors per genre, but three? Things that make you go hmmm.
Elise: I did NaNo a few years ago, and the result was the last novel I queried. I managed to write over 70K words because my goal was to write THE END on it, not simply to write 50K words. It's a good way to discipline yourself to write every day, and to get a story out of your head and onto the page. You really have to suppress that inner editor, and tell yourself you'll edit and polish after November 30th, which, again, if you find yourself starting but never finishing projects, is a good exercise.
I don't know that I will do it this year. I have this novel that I need to finish, but I want to get more short stories written. However, I do strongly encourage and support participation. :)
Colin You nailed the whole reason I am doing NaNo. I have read several accounts of writers using this to discipline themselves. It sounds like it worked well for you. I love your short fiction, but I do wish you would get a novel done and snag yourself an agent and book deal. I have a feeling you will have some wonderful characters with great stories to tell.
I hope NaNo will work for me. My book will be a good bit longer than 50,000 words so I hope to exceed that all the way to The End .
I must suppress my inner editor. I tend to get stuck on the first chapter for months on end. With this book, I know the whole story so I ought to be able to finish the damn thing in less than five years. So I am going to take a hiatus from the workshop in November with the intention to have a complete, viable draft by December 1st. Wish me luck.
I think this author's mss was widely shopped. All the big 5 declined so it went to other presses. I don't know which ones--this person is a professional acquaintance rather than a friend so I didn't push for too many details.
The sticking point for the author was marketing plans. He didn't think the offers came with enough support. Agent urged him to take one of the offers, but he didn't. Maybe he thinks a new agent would be able to get him a better deal? That doesn't seem realistic, though.
love your short fiction, but I do wish you would get a novel done and snag yourself an agent and book deal. I have a feeling you will have some wonderful characters with great stories to tell.
Well, there's my kick up the butt for the month. Thanks, Elise--your gentle encouragement means a lot. :)
Interesting topic... Thank you.
NaNo? No way. No how. I edit as I write. If I tried to move on before attending to what's already there, my head would explode.
Melanie Sue, I am the same way. This weekend at the conference, I heard a great word for this: writitor! (Or wriditor?)
I don't necessarily resolve all research/writing as I go, but I definitely do go wildly out of sequence and I am constitutionally incapable of not widgeting a passage if I see something widgetable about it.
Heard an author object to the term "pantser" (fair enough!), but she insisted upon the term "linear" writer instead. I'm not so sure that most so-called pantsers actually move linearly in a manuscript, so that's not a workable term for my own ... um, "method" ... (We'll pretend I have one of those.)
Theresa, that must be painful to witness. It hurts my heart a bit just to read it. Whether I self-publish or end up hybridized at some point, I expect to - indeed, can't wait to - support my own work. My expectation of publisher support is limited indeed.
I'm wondering why anyone would ever unfollow an agent on Twitter (unless said agent behaved in an unprofessional manner). I follow lots of agents because I'm interested to hear what they have to say about the publishing industry and I'm interested to see which YA writers they sign so I can follow those people, too.
I agree with Janet, what's new? Not that she's always right, but I seem to be missing when she's wrong so I can call her out on it. Yes, it would be fine to re-approach the agent who got turned down. Who knows, maybe she wrote a number one hit song because of you. It didn't start with Taylor. That's how Lorena. The song made men so homesick they would desert, so many commanders forbade it to be sung in camp.
Anyway, unless the OP was an ass, the agent probably wouldn't mind being contacted again. However he or she might have misgivings about a manuscript that's been shopped already. I hope you have a second, polished and ready to go one in the wings.
As I've said before, you can't volunteer to be the virgin sacrifice just because you only did it once with Horace Hifflewhiff and it wasn't very satisfying.
Theresa I think your acquaintance is in for a rude awakening. Most agents, I believe, are going to see nothing but red lights and alarms when they hear he got multiple contract offers and declined.
It's good you didn't offer an opinion because it sounds like he has it all figured out. He may also figure out one day how foolish that was.
Elise Doubtful on the Nano. I'm fighting battles on numerous fronts, which may miraculously get solved. Hallelujah! But I doubt it. I'm doing good to get words down on the current WIP daily.
Melanie My head is very likely going to explode. With my last book, I revised the first chapter well over 1000 times so it took me years and years to complete the book. I need to get a bit out of my comfort zone. I can still revise until I puke after NaNo, but I must work at completing things. You know the saying, you have a lifetime to complete first book, but only a year for each subsequent book. Sure, that is not always the case but I would like to manage a library of published books before I am permanently exiled to Carkoon if at all possible. So I need the discipline.
Speaking of Carkoon, a couple of residents have contacted me asking if Ms. Volpe would be interested in opening a branch of New Leaf on Carkoon. I don't know why they're asking me. I guess they're too scared to ask QOTKU. (She rules that place with a mighty iron fin.) They're already throwing around some possible names, "Kale Leaf" being the most popular at the moment. I'm not sure if this is a good idea because, well, if she does launch NL-Carkoon, she'll want someone to run it. And I fear who might be at the top of the list... *gulp*! :)
I tend to mute agents when they go off on their social warrior rants. I follow them on their professional feeds because I'm interested in the industry not who they are so upset about hedgehog bowling that they are going to shut down their office and go join the protest. After that they'll be joining the save the pet rock memorial wall parade. They'll get back to agenting after they save the world.
I've been unfollowing or muting quite a few in the past few weeks/months because I'm 1. migrating to a professional twitter account and 2. sick of the political rants. Yes, I know how disgusting candidate B is. I think both of the career criminals ought to be in prison. However, I also think people have the right to choose who they are voting for and which, if any, political party they want to belong to without being demeaned by industry leaders trembling aspiring writers look up to. 3. If they make blanket statements about trailer trash, backwards rednecks, etc.
I do follow an agent back immediately on the other account and explain the unfollow/follow. There were a few I didn't refollow because I was just weary.
And I was supposed to be in Surrey in a few hours. I think I'll go find some Shiner Bock and start drinking early
DLM: I'm with you on having one of those ... um, "methods." Ha!
Elise: I have 3 books out (nonfiction) and a completed ms (fiction) ready to go. But word on the street is that I'll be revising my query letter till the day I die.
Julie: I already have some Shiners iced down. Stop by. We'll put our feet up on the porch, watch the horses and talk shop.
Melanie I am so worried about my query and synopsis after my last trip through the trenches, I wrote both before I even started my WIP. And when time comes, I imagine I will still be editing my query past oblivion. Ah well. One step at a time I suppose.
OP: I encountered a similar story recently, but the author ended up moving forward with a brand new agent and a brand new manuscript.
On the OT of NaNoWriMo: I met a lovely, successful series author who explained that for years her pub contract required her to produce two books a year. That opened my eyes to how much content a working mystery author has to produce.
I think NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity to practice that kind of discipline. Plus, it feels like a happy holiday season for writers when NaNo buzz is in the air.
Melanie, I agree. I did NaNo last year in spite of my misgivings about not being able to edit as I go. My head didn't explode, but it did ache. It felt like when I took ski lessons once and lost control on a downhill, with scenery was flashing by and no clue how to slow down.
Surprisingly, the story turned out okay. I mean, it was still a first draft, and needed lots of revision, but it wasn't awful. I did have it all outlined in advance, so that helped. It's comforting to know I can do it again, if I have to.
Julie and Melanie, Count me in for a virtual Shiner!
I did NaNo in 2001, the third year of its existence. After that I didn't write fiction for a long time. When I restarted a couple years ago, my old NaNo effort, even if somewhat embarrassing to read, gave me encouragement that a novel was not out of my reach.
I would probably use that book as the answer to that question of "What else you got?"
With two years of down time you should hopefully have something else to offer. It means going back into the trenches but you should do that anyway. Query widely and prosper means not putting your eggs into one basket. Don't expect an agent you turned down to have open arms when you call.
Your statement that “it's probably best to assume it's not viable and you should query with a new project” is superb advice IMO. The OP got a professional assessment from several seasoned pros at no charge, which is a helluva good deal. Agents and editors are professionals, which writers generally are not, and their opinion is gold.
There is one exception, though, that you might find amusing.
If I remember correctly, it was an editor at MacMillan who believed GONE WITH THE WIND was probably not a publishable property and turned it down.
He had a tough time living that mistake down.
I remember the name of the publisher because I read that story in a biography of the British prime minister Harold MacMillan. So even the best pros are sometimes wrong. Not often/ But sometimes.
On the topic of NaNo, I do it periodically. I'm still considering it for this year. I have 18,000 words of my current WiP done and would like to be much farther along when my writing retreat in May comes up*.
I also edit as I write, but the way I get around it during NaNo (and at other times as well) is to take notes as I go. "Change this in the next version." "Find a better word." "Check continuity with [Scene Name]." Word's revision mode and Scrivener's document notes are invaluable to me.
If anyone's interested, you can find me on NaNo as Cheryl Rosbak.
*My biggest weakness as a writer is lack of description. NaNo gives me permission to be long-winded and poetic instead of racing to the next plot point.
I'm doing NaNo too, if anyone wants to join me (Vampyr14). I try to do it every year because I like to draft fast and NaNo is a great motivator. I always wind up with manuscripts at the end with large notes in them telling me stuff I need to look up or figure out because when I get stuck, I move on without figuring out the thing that's sticking me.
Sometimes they come to me later and I can go back and fill them in, but usually when I start revising a few months later, I'm faced with these big red letters telling me what's missing.
This is a great NaNo tip, BTW, from Kate: I move on without figuring out the thing that's sticking me.
The point of NaNo is to get that novel out of your head and onto the page. Even if that novel right now is just a vague idea. It's supposed to help you get from nothing to something, not from outline to polished, well-researched piece of literary genius. If you get to day 5 and you're stymied by a fact that needs research, make a note to research it later and move on. Yes, this may mean a large portion of your novel will need to be re-written after the fact. That's okay. That's what December's for. ;)
Dear Sharkly One,
I would hope that an agent picking up a ms think it's viable. 8^) But only shopping it to three publishers seems ... overly minimal?
I realize that at this point an agent and author are still in the early dating phase, but I'd hope there would at least be some useful feedback if the publishers thought the ms worthless. Is that not the case?
EMG, et al,
No NaNo here; too busy. But then writing comes easily. In fact, while trying to come up with a name for the third novel in my series, I started making notes on how it would start, and the first chapter popped out (along with the title). Mt bigger problem will be NOT writing volume 3 while getting volume 2 out the door!
As Janet said, this sort of situation is... well, situational.
OP: The first thing you will do - if you haven't already done it - is get a list of the editors this agent has shopped the manuscript to. This is something the 'new' agent will want to see if you send her the same project again and if she's considering taking you on. (Don't include it in the first e-mail, but have it handy so you can give it to her if she's still interested.) This is important. If the manuscript has already been shopped to the editors this agent would contact, then she can't really help you anyway.
NaNo: November is a bad time for me to make that kind of commitment. It's right after the Surrey conference and right before Christmas prep. Since I get energized at Surrey, I usually want to work on submissions and revisions that month, not a new draft.
Diane: I'm okay with the term 'pantser', but I prefer 'discovery writer'. I write to discover the story, the same way readers read to discover a story. At least, that's how I see it.
Jenny: Exactly - I follow a lot of agents and editors, many of whom would never be able to help me in my genre, simply for the information. I've learned a lot about publishing that way.
Julie: I'm going to miss you at Surrey. I'm sorry you can't make it. I leave tomorrow morning pre-dawn. Maybe next year will be the year we get together!
Man, so many good comments I'd like to add my two cents to all, but I'm kind a short on time - this:
"I move on without figuring out the thing that's sticking me."
Impossible - for me. I'm like some of the others - must edit! I have to even fix typos. Can't stand those squiggly lines from Word telling me something ain't right. Course, it tells me that a lot when I'm writing with "voice." It doesn't like "might ought to," or dropped "g's" for "sippin'," etc.
Theresa Yeah, if it was shopped around to the Big Five and then to some presses - and the agent even urged him to take a deal, and he didn't? Ouch. Maybe the writing is so good though...he can do another book and get another agent, but I bet the deals would be the same though. I think my publicity team is the bomb diggity bomb. I do some stuff, and they do some stuff, but in all honesty they're doing the bigger chunk of it. I don't care about a huge book tour - would prefer NOT to have one. I'm a homebody, and besides, word of mouth is The Best Way.
I started NaNo once upon a time. I loved it for the first two weeks, but life got in the way. It could have been easy to get down on myself for not finishing the novel I started, but it turns out that I had some different fish to fry (no offense to water-dwellers intended). In any case, I loved the exhilaration of seeing my word count grow after repeatedly sitting down with the intent to be amazing.
BJ, I love "discovery writer"! I will definitely use that. In a research-intensive genre especially, that is just the term.
Opie: As you move forward, you might keep a couple things in mind. Rumor has it that agents are human and it will do you good to put yourself in their shoes and think like Agent A before you go back and contact her. It might change the tone of your correspondence if nothing else.
And of course I forgot the second thing, which I'm pretty sure was much more compelling and clever. Good luck and congratulations. Shows your writing chops if you had two agents reaching for you.
Nano, yes! I'm in and excited. One tip I heard last night at a gathering: If type in word, turn off editing. Unsaid: If you write any other way, turn off your inner editor. Give it a try.
Remember, Nano is yours to do however you want. There's no census taker that'll stop by your house on December 1. Just take November and give yourself your own personal Nano challenge if you don't want to go after the 50k. Make your goal 25k. Make your goal to write one day, edit the next. Do it however you want. Make it fun.
One reason I'm in Nano this year is to hit up a few write-ins and see if I can land a critique partner or two. Word count will be a bonus.
By the way, I was a pantser until another library threw me out.
Now I'm a discovery writer.
A whole bunch of the published authors in my critique group have change agents, at least once, or are in the process of changing. At my last conference, half the speakers had changed agents. And several of them switched to agents they had previously queried. So it doesn't seem that unusual from my corner of the Writerverse.
OT - I'm doing Nano! I'm racing to finish WIP #1 to get it to beta readers so I can write #2! I've done it twice - the first was not-a-novel, and I took the only good parts of it and turned it into a novel last year. I didn't win, but it didn't matter. It's an actual story with characters and motivations and world.
This year will be even better. I"m R E Horsting, if you want to buddy me (I will come back and buddy those of you who already posted...but I have to run my kids somewhere)
What I love about Nano is I can pretend I'm a pro writer and its my job so I HAVE to meet my word count. I'm all about faking it 'till I make it =).
For those of you doing NaNo (I'm still undecided, but seriously considering it), Alex Sokoloff is doing a series of posts on her blog this month, giving her usual good advice for how to prepare for NaNo so it's more productive.
I have nothing to add on topic. This is one of those things that makes my brain-hamster run double time-- what if I someday get more than one offer of representation and make the "wrong" (for me) choice. Not there yet, so I refuse to think about it.
DLM, Julie, Donna, and everyone else who's weighed on in the shifting fortunes of my writing acquaintance: I do feel very bad for him. I think about his situation a lot. I know how long and how hard he's worked on the book, and he's a good writer. I know how long it took him to find an agent. I think he, like all of us, had big dreams for his mss, and they haven't come true. I can't imagine rejecting an offer because of the press's marketing plan. He viewed this as a way of off-setting what he considered a small advance. (He didn't tell me what he considered small, but he wanted to know what my advance was.) So I do wonder if another agent would be willing to work with him because of that.
BTW, he doesn't have another book, so he doesn't have anything else to offer another agent besides a mss that has been widely shopped. I really wonder if the book will ever be published.
Theresa, that is a sad story. It sounds like he lost sight of the forest for the trees. I like to think that I would view a smaller advance as an opportunity to exceed publisher expectations and get that second book picked up too, though we'll have to see how I behave when I actually get to that point. Spending time here on the Reef has really encouraged me to take the long view.
I occasionally unfollow agents if I feel like my tastes and theirs have diverged, but I also try to keep the number of accounts I follow to around 100. More than that and I get stressed out because I feel like if I don't read EVERY. SINGLE. TWEET. I am failing somehow.
I refuse to mute people because I feel like if I don't want to hear what they have to say then why am I following them?
But I am pretty weird about the Twitter.
Yeah, I've heard enough stories about changing agents to give me a little worry about if it might happen to me, and what to do if it does. Having to do it a second time sounds a lot more heartbreaking than the first time.
NaNo: I'm doing it. It cured me of the need to edit while I write, which stopped me from ever finishing a project before my first time doing it. I've revamped my WIP's story, put together an outline, and I'm restarting. The whole first part needed a massive rewrite, anyway. I'm Sakue on there--I've already buddied the people who've posted earlier.
Theresa Last comment, I promise, but I just wanted to say he's certainly not the first one to dream big.
I tend to dream small - miniscule even. I had the good fortune to meet D.G. Martin today (UNC Bookwatch TV) b/c he was at my friend's deli here in town signing his book, NORTH CAROLINA ROADSIDE EATERIES. Did I take my book, and press release along with me to try and snag an opportunity? You betcha. But then he started going on about how well it was going to do and I shook my head at him. (shook my head!!!) I said, "oooohhh noooo, I don't like to talk about success. I'm afraid I'll jinx myself."
Point being, I've never been one to think like that. It actually makes me uncomfortable...but, everyone is unique and different. Maybe I could use a bit of his panache. :>/
Not doing NaNo as that might actually end me (and any semblance of a functioning household) but as Bethany said, even the mention puts me in a happy holiday mood. There is a certain joy trigger in my brain when I hear about people getting serious about writing. Can't wait to hear what everyone else here accomplishes!
For those of you doing NaNo, I am E.M. Goldsmith there like I am here. I have buddied all of you that I could find who say you are doing it. This should be... interesting
altheapreston @ nano and I'm going to give it a shot again this year. I've only 'won' once, but it felt wonderful.
I am currently in this same situation. I parted with my agent and am now querying the agents who either had my MS when I signed with her and didn't get the chance to read it, or those who requested pages after I signed. Everyone was very supportive and understanding. All the previously interested agents asked for fulls, however, they did want a detailed account of where it was shopped and why I parted ways with agent 1.
Now I wish I'd thought to look for all of you when I did NaNo for the first time last year. I did it because I've never written anything more than 5,000 words, and I wanted to try to write something longer, since that's where my heart (if not my talent) is. I found it very useful to skip over things that needed research or further elaboration and just leave a note in the manuscript to do so later. I guess it's about time I dig that very rough draft out and get back to it.
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