Saturday, October 13, 2018

The second time might be a charm, but be careful

When an agency posts on their website that a NO from the agent is a NO from the agency, are they referring to a query or a full? An agency that shall remain nameless posted this:

A no from one agent usually means a no from the agency. Our agents work closely and will pass along a manuscript they feel is better suited for another agent.

However, if you query one and receive a query rejection, you may choose to query another agent at the query level only.

This agency is clear about their policy, but others don’t make that clarification.

Could you possibly clear this up or add something to the conversation?

Unless an agency specifically says one and done at the query stage, I'd always err on the side of querying a second agent.


One way you can really mess up is by querying that second agent too soon. Give Agent First at least 60 days, if not longer, before querying Agent Second.

One fast way to instant rejection from me is to see the exact same query sent to two or more agents here. And yes, we DO see them. And yes we do forward queries to other agents sometimes.

Bottom line:  be judicious about querying an agency for a second time, but don't assume you can't.


Erin Price said...

Hi, Folks. I'm wading in for the second time, to Janet's comment section. I read all the time, but seldom post. Only because of my own hesitance to jump in, though. You're such a lovely bunch of commenters. Always so helpful and generous. So it's good to be here amongst you all (and the Queen, herself).

This is a very timely post for me. I queried my manuscript over a year ago. Got a round of requests and several very helpful rejections. Then I realized that I'd queried too early and did a full rewrite. So my story is entirely different, though the title is the same. (It's an MG with kid with a medical diagnosis who ultimately embraces her dorky nickname - the title is the nickname. I know, I know. I shouldn't be too enamored with the title as it will likely change, but it's just so perfect. Anyway...)

So now, over a year later I'm back to querying a new book, with that same-old-same-old title and I've got a bunch of agencies that are not available to me because I'd queried them before and they already said No. I had actually already decided that I would approach some of them again and explain that this is an entirely new story. But I do worry that they'll see the same name and gasp as they hit the delete button, pausing only to add my name to list of non-rule-followers.

So, thank you, oh, Queen. And now that you've seen my query come through the New Leaf system another time (a year later - it's different, I swear!) please don't hate me.

Colin Smith said...

Hey, Erin! Deep breath. And again. And another. Good! ;)

I'm neither an agent nor the son of an agent, but I've been hanging around here for a while. My understanding is you don't have to worry. I'm sure agents get lots of queries for books with similar or even same-name titles. They also get a ton of queries, so I think there's a reasonable chance the agents don't remember your query simply from the book's title. And even if they do, I think most will at least read your query to jog their memories. At that point, they'll see it's not the same story. And if you note with your housekeeping "I queried you with this a year ago, but since then the story has undergone major revisions" I don't think anyone will cry foul.

And waiting a year to re-query agents with a completely revised novel is NOT a publishing crime. You will not be on anyone's list. Except hopefully someone's list of potential clients. :)

So don't worry. Unless Janet says I'm wrong. In which case we can both worry! :)

All the best with the adventure, Erin!! :)

Megan V said...

Welcome back to the comments Erin! It's good to see more people dipping their toes in these here waters.

You won't be put on some sort of blacklist. Trust me. Or if you can't rust me, trust an agent

And if it helps, the queen has commented on requerying a revised MS before.

check out this post

and maybe this post too

Katja said...

Well, I don't understand why it has to lead to an instant rejection if I query two agents at the same time, at the same agency. How can it be THAT bad?

I mean, I would even love it if all agents at an agency saw my query. Yeah, at the same time, why not!? Then the right one can raise their hand "I want to see more".

We spent SO much time on researching every single agent's wish list. SO much time on following every individual's guidelines, uff.

I would love a database you can 'pin' your query to, then the agents browse. If they want more material, THEN I research the agent, not before if all I hear from them is a NORMAN. THEN I can get personal when I send them a partial or full.

In other lives, this works too. On LinkedIn, for example. You put your CV on it.
Or is it because the agent feels disrespected if she spends two minutes on my query that she might waste because her colleague reads it, too?
But she has to spend the two minutes anyway, if I query her when her colleague said no!?

Unless I can rely on her that she passes my query to her colleague (or all of them)...
One email address per agency would be great, then the agents 'attend' the newsroom and pick what they like.

Just like on Twitter - the Twitter pitch.
And the agent's personal inbox is a lot lighter.

But, since I want to be published, I do what I must, cause the agent has the power...

Brenda said...

I disagree, K OCD. Why make two people do identical work? Only one will rep you anyway and that’s got to be a growly conversation at the water cooler when they find out they both spent time on the same writer, one of them obviously wasting hers. If a writer is willing to end-run an agent they are considering by approaching her colleague, how does said agent know that the writer isn’t impatient enough to go around her to the publishers?

Jami said...

I interned for an agency that had that rule. I didn't have the foggiest idea what the other agents wanted, just the one I was working with. Ever since, i've told friends to just wait a few months and then query someone else at agencies with that rule. Worst case, you just get another rejection, and you're no worse off than if you hadn't queried the second agent.

Katja said...

BrendaLynn, I'm OK you disagree. I won't answer the first question, because I think I have 'answered' it. And not the last one either, cause I think it's not necessarily the right conclusion to make.

I pitch several agents at the same time. No exclusive submissions. I bet every agents knows that. I make them all do the same work, just at different locations. But they know. And it's OK.

Oh, and I'm not trying to change the rules. Just saying I can't see why not two agents at the same location...

It's all about balance of power, and I have seen one agent on Twitter (who most of us probably also know) admit to that.

I hope your son was there 3 days ago. If not, I hope he'll be there next Wednesday.

Karen McCoy said...

I'm in similar waters as Erin. I had a round of requests, but realized the book still needed work, so I'm hammering it out during the last part of this year and I'll do a final "Hail Mary" of queries once that's done. I've already queried New Leaf with this project, but I am working on other projects that I hope to submit there, when they are ready. It's all a process.

Laina said...

I'd err on the side of caution just in the matter of waiting. I recently got a request on an almost three month old query, and I'm glad I waited for that! To each their own method, but I prefer caution.

Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katja said...

To me, it is remarkable that the word "caution" needs to be used.
Caution implies fear. Fear in the query process, the ordinary writer (including me) is fearful.
... The balance of power...