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Queries--repeat queries and such?
KristenH
Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 10:05 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44


Here's a new question on querying agents. I've noticed some agents say not to spam or send repeat queries. Does that mean, you can't send one query to Agent B after Agent A rejects them? Or even to requery them, if they don't respond and give you a no response, (unless a no response means no or respond when interested is stated.)

And my second one is, why some agencies say you can only send it to one agent at their agency? Any thoughts?

MarieDees
Posted: Monday, June 13, 2011 12:23 AM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157


Generally speaking if an agent or agency has any interest in the work, they will respond expressing that interest. For larger agencies, queries may actually be reviewed by an intern or assistant and then filtered to the best agent at the agency for that query. So querying different agents at that agency is unlikely to produce a different response.

If an agent or agency fails to respond to a query, you can follow up with a polite request to see if they received the query. However there are a few agencies out there who say that if they don't respond within a certain number of weeks, the writer should consider that a rejection. Once an agency or publisher has rejected a query or manuscript, you don't approach them, at least for that work, unless invited to do so.

One reason to be sure you have a great query and a manuscript that's of publishable quality is that every query drops an agent off the list.
KristenH
Posted: Saturday, June 18, 2011 5:33 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44


Thanks Marie. I've queried a couple of times and found out, that the agent had no record of my query, whether via email or mail. But they did invite me to requery them and hoping to get a response.
CarrieM
Posted: Monday, June 20, 2011 10:05 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 25


I think when agents say they don't want requeries, they mean sending the query again after you've already been rejected. I've heard of agents getting the same query every day for months...which is obviously a bad thing to do. Also, if you get a rejection and then revise your query to make it sound better, you should still avoid sending it to agents who have already rejected you.
KristenH
Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2011 3:06 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44


Thanks Carrie for clarifying it. I've just wondering about it, since I've revamped my queries multiple times in over a year.
Michael R Underwood
Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2011 12:42 AM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


I believe CarrieM is correct, however, it is worth noting that some agents explicitly allow requeries under certain circumstances.

The general guidelines I've heard on re-queries are to wait at least 6 months after the response to the first query, and that the query letter itself should be new -- don't just send the same material, at least polish or re-approach your pitch. If the manuscript is substantially revised, that might also allow/require a different take in the query letter.

It's sometimes hard to find out if agents accept requeries, but some will advertise it on their site or have done so in interviews. To the Googleplex!
MarieDees
Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2011 1:13 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157


Hmm, I may be talking with different agents than Michael, but from what I've heard from agents -- they don't want to see a repeat query for a submission they've already rejected, unless they specifically stated that they would look at the same work again with changes. With publishers, this is also known as a rewrite request. An agent or publisher will also generally state if they are open to other work from the author. Even if this statements is fairly generic, it does mean that they have left the door open for you to recontact them--but for another work.

The problem when writers send repeat queries for the same work, is that they may simply be signaling the agent that they only have one work to present. Which means the work is probably a first novel. First novels generally need more editing work than subsequent novels. And when a writer is showing signs that the still need to rewrite the query and rework the manuscript -- it means they aren't done yet.

Of course new writers often go through rewrites of both the manuscript and support materials. Even experienced writers will do that. But unless you have been invited to resubmit, you'll generally want to move on and submit to another agent or publisher. Or if you have your heart set on a certain agent or publisher, approach them with a new manuscript. If they accept that one, that usually opens the door for more discussion on the first rejected manuscript.

KristenH
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2011 5:27 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44


Good insights Michael and Marie. I've only requery, if I don't hear back on the query, like if it had gotten lost in the email/mail. Only when they say they respond when interested, or no rejection letter is sent. I've gotten only one R&R and when I nudge an agent, they told me to resend the query, since they don't have it. You never know. And of course, I do revamp my queries at least twice a month, when I get Rs.
MarieDees
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2011 9:32 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157


Hmm, I think it's time to clarify some terminology.

Requery - this is when an agent or publisher has read and rejected your query or manuscript and you resubmit a query for the same manuscript again, even if you have made changes. Generally speaking you don't want to do this. I asked the head acquisitions editor for a publisher about this and the response (she does tend to be blunt) was:

"Oh my GOD NO NO. WTF is wrong with people? Unless you are given an R&R letter, never, ever resub the same book."

But here's where I think you might be confused:
Follow up - if an agent or publisher doesn't respond because they've lost the query, and this does happen even with email. So, it is an entirely normal and acceptable procedure to email and ask if they received your query. Or with a manuscript, if they're still interested if they've been sitting on it for too long.

Resend - if an agent didn't receive your first query/submission, you resend the query. You aren't requerying because from their side -- they never saw the first query. You weren't rejected, just misplaced.

Rewrite and Resubmit - the rewrite does not refer to the query. This refers to the manuscript. I've been through it with one publisher. The general process is that an agent or publisher has read the entire manuscript and feels that it's almost what they want. They will send back a letter detailing the changes they'd like to see and invite the author to resubmit if they rewrite to meet those changes. It's a challenging position for an author to be put into because technically the story has NOT been accepted. And yep, you can do the rewrites and the agent or publisher can decide that it still isn't what they're looking for.

Requerying with NEW work is not uncommon. Generally an agent or publisher will include a sentence inviting the author to send future work if they feel they might be interested in seeing it. Romance publishers like Harlequin who take submissions directly from authors are almost always open to looking at the next work if they didn't like this one.

Reworking the query - generally a good idea if you haven't been getting requests for partials from the query letter. Queryshark is a good place to see examples for how to write query letters.
http://queryshark.blogspot.com/
KristenH
Posted: Saturday, July 16, 2011 3:40 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44


Thanks for the clarifying. That's what I meant: I follow up or nudge an agent, if I don't hear back. Just recently, one agent said he never got my query, but found it in the spam filter. He read it and gave me an R. Also, one agent said she never received it at the main email address, but told me to send it to her personal email address--I did yesterday. She told me she'll get back to me next week before she goes on vacation. I hope I get lucky.
 

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