Friday, October 27, 2006

Repeat Queries

I sent out my novel, confidently, thinking I’d done the best possible job, querying widely. There were requests for fulls and partials, all leading to no, but with some encouraging advice on revision. They were right. Now I find myself in the position to query again, a year later, with a new and improved! version and would like to re-query not only those agents who wrote the encouraging comments, but the ones who passed on the original query. I’d imagine, I hope, that this happens to quite a number of people. From your side of it, what happens when you come across a “familiar” query letter?

Do you even notice? Is it necessary to change the title as some people will tell you to do? Are there records kept? In my case, I sent the first 5 pages which will be essentially the same. Does that matter/will it be noticed? I do plan on changing/improving the query letter.

And, while we’re at it, how would I approach a query letter to an agent that had read the partial or full and turned it down? Just query again without mentioning, not query at all, or query with a reference to “new and improved!”

We come across familiar query letters all the time, because there's rumors going around that agents don't remember every query and assistants change a lot. In fact, we see repeat queries, unchanged, within a month. And while we don't remember everything (I will not for the life of me remember your name), it will likely look familiar to us. More importantly, if we rejected it the first time, there probably was a reason, and that same reason will lead us to reject it a second time.

Query again, with no reference to previous queries, and significantly change your query. I don't mean move lines around. Change the description of the book (the "hook"), because that's what we're most likely to remember, not names and titles. If your writing has improved, you'll want to change it anyway so that it's better-written.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rejecter - I'm not the person who wrote the original letter, but I have the exact same questions.

I would love to know your answer to requerying agents who read partials/fulls and made encouraging, helpful comments, but I'm not sure after reading your answer.

I'm assuming the significantly different query letter is more important for recontacting agents who turned a writer down after just a query.

Thanks - This is a GREAT blog!

Anonymous said...

If the first five pages are essentially the same, as the question mentioned, and it's mostly about the writing...wouldn't it just be rejected again, even with an improved query letter?

I guess I'm wondering, Rejecter, which matters most. I thought it was the actual writing; your post makes it sound like a revamped query might get more interest, even if the writing from the included sample hadn't changed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd like to have more info from the rejecter regarding this also.