Wednesday, August 19, 2009

RE-QUERY??? GASP!

Last week, I asked you if you had any questions about the craft of writing or the publishing industry. Stephanie Faris had a great question.


“I'm curious about this thing I read from an agent recently...that if an agent had rejected an author more than once, that author should never query that agent again. Does that mean we can only query each agent twice? Could we wait a while and query again? What if we end up with a better project two years down the line and we want to hit that agent again???”


Here’s what I’ve read on the subject. You can query an agent on the same project a second time, but only if you’ve done MAJOR revisions. Don’t query the same work more than twice. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time for both of you. Now, let’s say you’ve re-queried and have received a second rejection. Does that mean you can’t approach Super Agent with another book idea? Nope. Go ahead. The same rules apply. Although, I’d wait at least a month so you don’t have a rejection slip associated with your name. If you fail to acquire the agent by this point, it may be Super Agent just doesn’t like your style. Move on to Even Better Agent.


What do you think? Have you had any experience with re-querying an agent? What have you heard on the subject?

Thanks Stephanie for the question. If anyone else has questions about the craft or the industry, go to my sidebar. Under labels there's a link called Writing or Industry Questions. Click on it and write your question in the comment section.

Don't forget today is the last day to get your entry in for the critique group contest. The deadline is midnight. In case you missed the post, here are the details.

17 comments:

  1. Good points and such a sticky topic. You don't want to come across as the stalking-type..hahahaha

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  2. No experience with re-querying, but good topic for discussion.

    Good luck with your contest...and if you get bored, come enter the HAIKU HOEDOWN!

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  3. Great answer to a great question. That is my understanding as well! I can't imagine not being able to query an agent again EVER!

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  4. My understanding is that new projects can always be queried to agents you have queried before , but leave a sensible amount of space (we're talking months) between the queries, so you don't look like a crazy person. (Don't like that one? How about this? Or this? OR THIS?!?!)

    I've only seen one agent disagree with this -- that agent thinks that if you've gotten a "no" on more than one project, then your style obviously isn't a fit for the agency, and you should move on. I disagree. Your style may evolve, and anyway, with a form rejection, you never can tell if it's a style thing, or a "vampires are too hard to sell right now, but if you also have steampunk, then I would totally be interested" kind of thing.

    I would say that an author should only re-query the same project if (1) the agent said it was okay, or (2) so much time has passed and so many revisions have been done that you could submit a new query under a different title and it wouldn't seem like a repeat. And I definitely suggest using a new title in such a case.

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  5. I haven't re-queried anyone, but I would say that your take is a good rule of thumb.

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  6. I think after two rejections, it's safe to say that project is just not right for that agent. And in my opinion, if they're just sending you form rejection letters, what are the chances that they even glanced at your name??? Most likely the second they hit "send" your project is forgotten and you name as well. With the hundreds and thousands of queries they get in a year...I'm sure they do not remember the name of every writer that comes into their inbox. I most definitely plan on requerying the same agents with a different project!

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  7. I also agree that a second query should only be sent after major rewrites!

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  8. I have re-queried after a major revision and had partials requested that had previously been rejected. I think it depends on the individual agent's tastes.

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  9. AHHH. Thank you! I read it that if you've queried her twice and she said no, you could never send her anything again. I thought that sounded weird. I do have an agent who had me completely revise my YA to be a middle grade. I did and sent it back to him and he fired back even more changes. He invited me to resubmit so I'm working on it but I feel like at some point he's going to say, "Enough already!" I figure as long as he keeps inviting, I'll keep revising.

    Thank you for posting this. I feel much more enlightened!

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  10. I've only come across one agent who's said not to query any more if they've turned down more than one of your projects.

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  11. I think an agent who has you rework is doing you a huge service and I would do my best to keep getting back to him. You never know, that may be one of the things he/she likes about you - you get things back in a timely manner. We've all heard the stories about agents who heard something pitched to them that really sounded great, and then never heard back from the writer again.

    This is a profession. I think you really have something if he's asking for you to re-write it. Better to write for something that has a chance of making it to a publisher than start all over, especially for a new writer.

    Go for it, and good luck!

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  12. I got my agent on a requery :)

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  13. I've heard what you've heard. Unless they say not to query them ever again, trying with a new project is definitely okay. I think that if they like your style but the project just doesn't suite they'll actually invite you to send other work in the rejection letter, though. I've heard of that happening a lot.

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  14. Thanks for your feedback. I always love to hear what else has been circulating on this topic.

    Shelli: That's great! Congrats.

    Lynnette Labelle
    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

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  15. Great post. I've also heard it like you've written it--two times is the rule of thumb for each project, but no stalking. And it depends on the type of rejection. If your second query gets a "positive" rejection, it may be appropriate to query a third time.

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