Question for the esteemed veterans of this forum :)
Does anyone know the etiquette around re-querying the same agent after a period of time?
If you got a round of polite rejections, and have since worked on your project and seen the error of your ways, would it be proper practise to query again?
And how long is a suitable length of time? Could you approach people who rejected you recently?
Any help/wisdom/warnings would be gratefully received. Just wondered if anyone here has had any experience of this Thanks.
It really depends on the initial response. If you queried an agent and received "no response" (an approach a lot of them are taking), it is probably okay to query him/her again in 3-4 months. In that case, I wouldn't mention the previous query at all, nor would I say anything about revisions. Treat the query as though she has never seen it. It's possible she hasn't, as stuff gets lost in spam folders all the time.
If you submitted requested pages--either a partial or full--and received a polite rejection with no request to revise and resubmit, then I would not query again. Clearly the agent is not interested in this project. If the agent said she/he would consider another look if you revised, then send another query, mentioning your former correspondence and the changes you've made.
I would not re-query an agent for the same book who responded with a form rejection. If you have a new book, then the form rejection doesn't matter. A new book is a new opportunity.
A question for you: How many agents have you queried? I wouldn't consider going through the non-responder's list until I've topped 100. Don't become fixated on one or two agents, believing he or she is the one. There are lots of good agents out there, including new agents who are hungry for new clients.
Just my thoughts. Others may have different ideas.
Thank you, Jeanne, for so quick a repsonse!
It feels like it for sure, but I have not approached 100 yet. I am slowly trawling through the Writers and Artists' Yearbook. It doesn't feel to me as though there are that many in the UK though. So another question is: What on earth do you do if you exhaust them all!? LOL... probably a ways off that yet, but it's something I sometimes think about.
I guess my fear is all of them saying no and then what? Dead end. Finito!
Depressing thought! LOL
JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:
As always, Jeanne's advice is solid. But let me add this:
I once received a rejection from an agent with a personal note saying they liked the first chapter (they had requested), but no. They didn't think it was right for them.
I wrote back to the agent, suggesting they take another look, since all they had seen was one chapter.
So they read requested chapters. Still didn't feel that they could successfully represent the book. But at least they took another look at it, and I thought that was really cool.
If you've got a "dream" agent that rejected you with something more personal than a form rejection, and you have changed the book substantially, just rewrite your Q letter, including the fact that they mentioned that they liked it, you've now made changes, and send it again. Take a shot. The worst thing they can do is reject it. They aren't going to come to your house and reprimand you.
[I]I guess my fear is all of them saying no and then what? Dead end. Finito![/I]
No. Then you self-publish if you want people to be able to read that book. Yes, sometimes EVERYONE can be wrong. It happens.
A few weeks ago I went to see an artist in a one-man show who is succeeding brilliantly with a project that took nine years to hit. Yes, nine years. Every person he went to told him it wold never succeed. Then he met the one who really understood it, backed it, and he's got a worldwide audience now. If you have have faith in your book, you should consider self-publishing if you can't find anyone who wants to represent, sell, or publish it. It can still succeed in that venue. The ultimate goal for an artist is to get their art where people can see and enjoy it, whatever that takes. As many an artist has said, the critics may hate it, but the public may love it.
There was a time when I believed that if no agent/publisher wanted a book, it must not be good enough. But with the shrinking traditional book market, and the narrow-mindedness of many agents/publishers, I no longer believe that. I think if you've had your book read by a sufficient number of people who actually know something about books (not mom and dad, trying to be kind), and you want to proceed in self-publishing, just do it. Be realistic about how much money it will make (probably not much, but you never know). But for writers to put what they know is a worthwhile book under the bed and forget about it, is a waste. You just never know what could happen with it.
Last edited by leslee; 10-20-2011 at 07:33 AM.
Thank you, leslee. Wise words, and comforting too. I guess, though, I am afraid of self-publishing for a couple of reasons.
One: because it sounds like I would have to lay out money that I just don't have
Two: It feels like failure. That's probably a stupid (and very inaccurate) way of looking at it, and I am not meaning to insult anyone who has gone that route. But for ME, it would feel like failure. You know, spent years honing it and chasing the dream agent and the publisher who paid ME!
But you know, I'm down but not out yet! Still some more agents to approach. And after them, publishers who accept unsolicited (yes, they are out there but as rare as hen's teeth).
And your post was encouraging, and of course I will take your advice re the re-querying.
JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:
Re: self-publishing - it is not expensive (look into Createspace) and it is not a failure. We have to adjust our thinking from time to time, and you're carrying an old thought. Feel free to lose it. Keep trying for traditional publishing, but if it doesn't happen, move on and do it yourself. It is part of an artist's job to persevere. Look at all the wonderful independent films that would never have been made if artists didn't do it themselves.
Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime. Can you imagine? Nobody wanted his art. But aren't we glad he kept painting!
Better to self-publish a book you know is reader-worthy than to stick it in the closet. Traditional publishing is shrinking. A writer has to be proactive. That's far from failure.
Last edited by leslee; 10-20-2011 at 07:42 AM.
leslee, you are a blessing.
Last I knew it was considered bad form to requery the same agent on the same work--ever--unless the agent had said a requery after changes would be welcome. I'm sure it's done now and again with success, though.
A comment on self-publishing: It doesn't really matter how a book is published; it matters how it gets sold. Need to concentrate on the major (how to market it) over the minor (how to get it produced).
Thanks, Gary. I knew the oldies on here (meant with love! ) would talk a lot of sense to me. Your views are much appreciated and I guess *this* oldie needs to relax a bit. And I will look at the self publishing option in a different light if it's necessary.