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Madisonwrites
05-16-2009, 06:33 PM
I always want to be prepared so I have yet another "What if?" question.

Here's my situation. I am getting ready to query a manuscript to my dream agent. Let's say she reads the story, loves it, and offers representation. OK, what do I do about the other completed manuscripts I have that she has already rejected from the query? Do I tell her everything else I have written she has rejected, or do I say, "I have several other fabulous manuscripts that might interest you as well...." (OK, so maybe I'd be a little humbler than that. :D) and hope like heck she doesn't remember that she already rejected them?

I just like to be prepared for whatever can happen. If anyone has the answer to this question, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks, good luck, and happy writing to all! :D

ChaosTitan
05-17-2009, 06:23 PM
Depending on the length of time since she rejected those other manuscripts, she may not remember them. If you get an offer, your first phone chat is the best time to say "I have other manuscripts," because it shows this agent you aren't a one book wonder. Agents want to sign you for your career, not just for one book.

She may ask about the projects right away (so have a fresh pitch prepared), or she may ask you to wait on those until this first project sells. It depends. But if she never saw the actual manuscripts and rejected from query, it never hurts to bring them up.

Madisonwrites
05-18-2009, 01:27 AM
Thanks, ChaosTitan! That's what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure. :)

Epiphany
05-18-2009, 01:33 AM
I agree that if you get to the point where you are having phone conversations with the agent, it wouldn't hurt to tell them about your other manuscripts. Otherwise, from what I read online agents don't like to here about your other unpublished works, even if it was them rejecting it.

But anyway, good luck with your dream agent!

Manix
05-18-2009, 01:33 AM
Oh, cool. I'm glad you asked this Madison! Thank you ChaosTitan. (If you sez it's true, then I believes ya.) I didn't know it was good to be a multiple book promoter, since everyone says to make sure you don't mention it in the query. (I.E. It should be a stand alone work) I didn't know you should let the agent know in the initial conversations that you have sequels in the making. Now I do! Thanks to both of you:)

ChaosTitan
05-18-2009, 01:56 AM
I didn't know it was good to be a multiple book promoter, since everyone says to make sure you don't mention it in the query. (I.E. It should be a stand alone work) I didn't know you should let the agent know in the initial conversations that you have sequels in the making. Now I do! Thanks to both of you:)

Let me clarify, since your statements make me think I wasn't clear in my first post.

You're right, there's no need to mention other books you've written in the initial query. Your query is meant to sell one book to the agent, to get their interest on one work. And yes, it's in your best interest for that first novel to stand alone. It is acceptable, of course, to mention in the query something along the lines of "BOOK X stands alone, but has series potential." It lets the agent know you've thought further ahead and plan to write more.

As for my comment about what you should mention during a phone call with an agent--I meant other novels, not necessarily "sequels in the making." Most agents will tell you not to work on a sequel until you have a book deal on the table. Let your potential agent know that you have sequel ideas, and it's okay to mention other finished novels that you feel are publication worthy.

Madisonwrites
05-18-2009, 07:31 AM
Yeah, I have a total of six completed manuscripts. Three are completely different: a YA high fantasy, a MG contemporary fantasy, and a MG sci-fi (which is the one I'm pitching). The last three are a MG fantasy trilogy. And I have way more partial manuscripts and ideas, but an agent might not want to hear about some of those since they haven't made it to the "I know this is going to work" stage. :)

waylander
05-18-2009, 01:02 PM
An agent is pretty always going to ask 'what else have you got' when they are seriously considering representing you. They want to know that you're likely to have a continuing career.

Madisonwrites
05-19-2009, 05:25 AM
Yep, a continuing career is my dream. :D

RainbowDragon
05-20-2009, 11:28 PM
Keep in mind that you have no way of knowing for sure who your dream agent is until you find one who connects with your work. But that could be an agent who rejected your work in the past. You really just never know, so get feedback on your query and opening chapters, query widely and get as many full requests as you can. . .

Then I agree, the odds are that by the time an agent offers to rep you (from query to partial to full to maybe revision requests to offer can take a looong time -- months at least), enough time has passed that they'll have forgotten all about whatever queries of yours they might have rejected in the past.

Madisonwrites
05-21-2009, 06:21 AM
I'm hoping. But let's see if she wants to read this story first! One hurdle at a time. :)

MsJudy
05-21-2009, 06:46 AM
just to add one dissenting opinion...

If they've already been rejected by that agent based on the query alone, don't get your hopes up too high that she's suddenly going to love them once she's fallen for another of your books. There may still be something about those other MSS, the premise or some such critical piece, that she still feels isn't very marketable. She probably had a reason for rejecting the first time around, and that reason may not have changed.

Danthia
05-21-2009, 05:05 PM
Agreeing with JudScotKev here (makes up for disagreeing yesterday, huh? <grin>)

You can discuss past work, because maybe they can give you insight to a project they rejected and say why they did, but if a project didn't land an agent the first time, it's probably because the project wasn't publishable. If the agent rejected it, I probably wouldn't mention it unless you did serious revisions to it.

However, timing can and does come into play, so maybe you had a story that didn't work do to the market that would work now that the market has changed.

You lose nothing by asking. If they want to see past work, they'll either ask or say yes when you ask. They'd probably ask to see a synopsis of the work. Just don't flood the poor agent with "here's everything I've ever done, can you read it all and tell me if any of it would sell?" type conversations. Perhaps something more like, "I have several other completed manuscripts, would you be interested in knowing more about them?"

Madisonwrites
05-21-2009, 06:01 PM
Yeah, that's what I figured. I say all the time just because you have an agent doesn't mean they are going to rep everything you write. I mean, we all write great stories that aren't publishable. I would prob just say that I have other completed manuscripts if she is interested. If she asks if I queried them to her before, then I would say yes. I am not going to lie. It could very well be I have a good story that just didn't come off that way in the query letter. Or it could be that just have one heck of a piece of crap. ;)

If my agent did not want to read or rep any of my past work, I would also ask her if she minds me scouting an agent for those works. I know some authors have several agents and others just have one agent, but I know that some agents just like to be the only one for thier authors. We'll just see how it goes. Normally I get a rejection letter from her within two days, but this is day three, so I'm hoping that's good news!

Then again, it could just be because she's out of town. :)

RainbowDragon
05-21-2009, 11:28 PM
There's a difference between not publishable and not considered by agents to be marketable, though.

A story about a vampyr named Ddusokg who lvs at the blod bnak is unpublishable (Spelling errors never help).

A story about a vampire named Doug who lives at the blood bank -- well, maybe agent A thinks it's a cliche and agent B loves it but doesn't network with vampire-loving editors while agent C had an ex- named Doug.

If your work is polished (beta readers can help you determine that), it can certainly be publishable and still take a long time to get published (we'll add, sadly, if it ever does get published). If your story is sound but the execution makes it unpublishable, it can be revised up to par. Your best bet is to figure all this out before showing it to an agent, even if the agent is repping your latest and greatest.

Once all that is in place, perceived marketability becomes the determining factor, and no one can predict what will be perceived as marketable by editors and agents. You can try to target people who publish books similar to what you write, but in the end it's not altogether unrelated to luck.

Madisonwrites
05-22-2009, 08:01 AM
Yeah. My stories have run through Betas a few times. I know my stories are as good as I can get them at this point in time. Whether that is good enough or not....we are going to have to see. :)

Patience is a virtue. I think that's one of the hardest things to remember in writing.

Andrew Zack
05-22-2009, 08:55 PM
As an agent, my advice would be to focus on the book that the agent has expressed interest in. Don't get ahead of yourself. Sell one book and then worry about what's next. When an author starts opening up the trunk and pulling out dusty manuscripts (figuratively, of course), it reminds of women who used to discuss their dream honeymoon on the first date.

That said, if an agent asks if you have other things, then by all means give them an honest answer. Otherwise, I would focus on the one book that got the agent to call or write back.

Z

Madisonwrites
05-23-2009, 12:19 AM
Good advice. Hard to not want to jump the gun, but I guess it's just that patience coming in again. :)

arkady
05-28-2009, 01:11 AM
If they've already been rejected by that agent based on the query alone, don't get your hopes up too high that she's suddenly going to love them once she's fallen for another of your books. There may still be something about those other MSS, the premise or some such critical piece, that she still feels isn't very marketable. She probably had a reason for rejecting the first time around, and that reason may not have changed.

That may or may not be the case. But at least this time around he'll get to ask the agent why she rejected them the first time.