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Thread: If at first you don't succeed...?

  1. #1
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    If at first you don't succeed...?

    Okay. I'm kind of at that point in the writing game where I'm sitting on full manuscripts at varying degrees of revision. I've gotten stuck a bit on the 'when will it ever be good enough for submission' problem, and started thinking I should probably take the first plunge and get it over with.

    So. I wanted to know, if I submitted one to an agency, and it got rejected, for whatever reason, would it be acceptable to try again after a suitable period of revision? Or would it look bad to pester the same people twice with something they've already turned away?

    EDIT: I'm sure this question has been asked before, like everything else. I did look for previous, similar topics, and found none. If anybody has one, sorry I missed it. I'm still learning the fine art of topic searches.
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  2. #2
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Once your novel is ready, you create a query letter and a synopsis. Most agents want a query letter only, but you would follow their guidelines to a tee and submit what they ask for.

    Most people submit a query letter to several agents (5-10) at a time. If you are not getting any hits, you probably need to revise your query letter.

    I urge you to visit Query Letter Hell in the Share Your Work Forum and to read all you can there.
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Littlefield View Post
    Once your novel is ready, you create a query letter and a synopsis. Most agents want a query letter only, but you would follow their guidelines to a tee and submit what they ask for.

    Most people submit a query letter to several agents (5-10) at a time. If you are not getting any hits, you probably need to revise your query letter.

    I urge you to visit Query Letter Hell in the Share Your Work Forum and to read all you can there.
    I have been through QLH, and I understand that query letters come first. (I realize now I totally left that out in my post, sorry!) My question here is if I can try the same material at the same agency again at a later time, after it has had some work done, or if it's rude/annoying to resubmit something they've already turned down.
    I married my co-writer. We shared the fun of writing, now he's in the Navy and I'm at home, rewriting and (theoretically) revising.


    Stationed in Japan and loving it!

  4. #4
    The colors! THE COLORS! leahzero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lycoplax View Post
    So. I wanted to know, if I submitted one to an agency, and it got rejected, for whatever reason, would it be acceptable to try again after a suitable period of revision? Or would it look bad to pester the same people twice with something they've already turned away?
    Generally, an agent won't want to see the same MS again unless it is significantly different.

    If they give you something more than a form rejection, you can ask if they'd be willing to look at a revised MS in the future. If the agent was on the fence about it, they'll probably be open to this.

    But regardless of what happens, always ask (or notify) first, rather than just waiting and submitting again. Some may not remember, but some will, and that's an instant strike against you.
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  5. #5
    My New Cat Is Too Big for Shoulders Corinne Duyvis's Avatar
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    It depends on how big the revision is. That's sometimes hard to tell on your own, and it's even harder for us to indicate, so I'd check with CPs who have read both versions whether they think the changes are significant enough to warrant re-querying.

    Some agents mind, others don't. But if your book is honestly twice as strong and very different, it might be worth a try, yeah.
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  6. #6
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    If you submit and receive a rejection, then you shouldn't really resubmit that book to the same agency unless they invite you to do so.

    You can, however, submit another book to that same agency even if they didn't ask for more of your work with their original rejection.

  7. #7
    Bacteria are your friends Zombie Kat's Avatar
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    A big problem with immediately revising after a failed round of querying is there is a good chance that your revisions won't yield a better book. Unless you receive a lot of feedback from agents, you'll be in the same place and no more capable of getting it right second time round! And, if you're going to send the same book to the same agents, I think you need to be convinced it isn't a waste of their time.

    It's awesome if you're brave enough to take the plunge and start querying. But be ready to put a book aside if it doesn't get any interest. I know from personal experience that agents will let you know if your book has enough potential to be fixable. If querying turns out to be a bunch of rejections, being prepared to move on to a new project is something most writers I know have had to learn to do.

  8. #8
    coffee and pistols at dawn KateJJ's Avatar
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    Are we talking queries here, or fulls? I'd think there's a difference between getting a form rejection on your query or a rejection (not R&R) on a full. Or am I wrong here?

    In a similar boat to you so I'm interested in the answer.
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  9. #9
    Bacteria are your friends Zombie Kat's Avatar
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    Different agents seem to have different opinions from what I've seen. Some say a form rejection on a query is a no to the premise and that they can see through a poor query, so rewriting is pointless. Others seem to be ok with a writer trying again with something radically different after a decent period (6 months?). And they probably won't even remember a failed query by then, anyway!

    With full requests, I think they're going to let you know if they're willing to have another look after revisions. But, if someone has taken the time to give personalised feedback, I am of the opinion that they are unlikely to be annoyed by a brief email asking if they'd like to look at the revised version. They can always say no.

  10. #10
    Recovering adjective addict
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    I have no experience, but I've read that it's only ok to requery if the work has drastically changed.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    Thanks for your input, everybody. I think I got what I need to know.
    I married my co-writer. We shared the fun of writing, now he's in the Navy and I'm at home, rewriting and (theoretically) revising.


    Stationed in Japan and loving it!

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