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Brett Marie
06-06-2013, 07:38 PM
Here's the deal: I'm considering querying three agents who may be perfect for my novel. Their clients are some of my heroes, and they talk in interviews about wanting all of the qualities I feel my book has. But all three are at the same agency.

Can I assume that if one agent rejects me, I can query another agent at that same agency? And should I wait a certain amount of time after rejection to submit to the rejector's colleague? And would it be important to disclose the previous rejection?

I'd appreciate any advice on this.

Drachen Jager
06-06-2013, 08:05 PM
Every agency has their own policy on this. Check the agency guidelines.

If there are no agency guidelines you can query the next in line after the first rejects.

However, are you sure you want to limit your options to just three agents? Have you looked at QueryTracker for compatible agents? Even Rick Riordan (author of the Percy Jackson books) says you're best to query a dozen or so at once. Surely there are more than three good ones in your field.

juliesondra
06-06-2013, 08:09 PM
Double-check that they don't answer the question on their website, because some agencies say not to query more than one of them with the same project. (My agent had a "no from one is a no from all" policy up.) Many agents will consider whether a project is more appropriate for one of their colleagues and pass it to them if that's the case.

If no such prohibition is posted, personally I'd just query one of them and if they rejected me I'd query others at other agencies. I don't think I'd go back to the same agency unless quite a lot of time had gone by. (Others might have better insight on how much time?)

Aggy B.
06-06-2013, 08:21 PM
Drachen is right, every agency has their own policy on this.

However, in general - larger agencies usually allow sequential queries to multiple agents and smaller agencies do not.

If it is really unclear from their submission guidelines (you want to look for language like "Only submit to one agent at a time." VS "Pick one agent to submit to.") and you can't figure it out from looking through the comments about that agency on QueryTracker, most agencies do have an "info@bestagencyever.com" type email address for general questions.

I would exhaust all other avenues of research (the Bewares thread here on AW, the QueryTracker comments section) before contacting the agency though. (And most times you'll find the answer in one of those two places.)

I also agree with Drachen that you should plan to query more than three agents.

Drachen Jager
06-06-2013, 08:34 PM
I also agree with Drachen that you should plan to query more than three agents.

I just came back here to add to this point. You'd have to be exceptional to really stand a good chance of landing with one of three agents. Don't get your heart set on them. Most of us query dozens of agents or more, and even then take several novels to get there.

Maybe you're right and you are that good, but nearly everyone starts out thinking they're that good, 99% of the time they're wrong.

Aggy B.
06-06-2013, 09:39 PM
I just came back here to add to this point. You'd have to be exceptional to really stand a good chance of landing with one of three agents. Don't get your heart set on them. Most of us query dozens of agents or more, and even then take several novels to get there.

Maybe you're right and you are that good, but nearly everyone starts out thinking they're that good, 99% of the time they're wrong.

Yes. I'm going to second this a second time.

Out of the 6 agents I thought would be "perfect" for me, one of them responded favorably to the query - asking for a partial, then a full. But that doesn't mean she'll offer rep and the wait is long (pushing six months from initial request for pages to now).

If she were to offer, I would likely take it. But if she doesn't, I don't want to have waited for months and months before sending my next query.

Aggy, querying widely

Brett Marie
06-08-2013, 01:53 PM
Thanks to all. I should say that of course I have other agents in mind, but these three seemed especially appealing. I'll take all of your advice to heart. Thanks again!

zegota
06-08-2013, 08:56 PM
Also pay attention to the first rejection email. If you get rejected by an assistant, it's almost certainly going to be that same assistant who receives the rest of your queries, so it's pointless to send a query again. If your rejection email says anything like "Your novel's not right for our agency," uses the word "we" or is signed by multiple agents or the entire agency, it's probably a reject from one = reject from all situation.

James D. Macdonald
06-08-2013, 10:18 PM
At some agencies a rejection by one is a rejection by all. I know that it's very common at multiple-agent shops that if a query comes in that one agent feels she can't represent but would be perfect for another agent, to walk the manuscript down the hall to the other agent (they know each other pretty well).

The master answer is always, "Check the guidelines."

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 03:57 AM
If an agency has more than one agent, it's likely that they each have a specialty, so as not to compete with each other.

But even if not, read their guidelines carefully. They might have an explicit prohibition against multiple subs. Chances are they have a weekly meeting (even if only by conference call or Skype) where they discuss their submissions. Hence, there's a good chance that you won't get two agents to consider the same project. Anything is possible, but it could be a waste of your time.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 04:01 AM
At some agencies a rejection by one is a rejection by all.

Yup. :) And it will be very bad form to test that theory.

S. L. Saboviec
07-06-2013, 02:51 AM
If the website doesn't explicitly say "a rejection by one is a rejection by all" (or some variation), does that mean I can re-querying another agent?

Also, what if I have substantially revised my query letter? (Which I have. It's gone from reading like a paranormal romance to reading like an urban fantasy [which is what the story actually is].) I know I shouldn't query the same agent again, but can I query a different agent in a "R-by-1-is-R-by-all" agency? Or is that tacky?

Aggy B.
07-06-2013, 03:04 AM
Usually unless they say to only query one agent, it's okay to query more than one (though not at the same time).

And most agents will not remember a specific query they rejected, especially if the query is completely different. (This is not because agents are stupid, but just because they get lots of queries. Every. Day.)

The worst they can do is reject the new query letter.

Debbie V
07-09-2013, 07:32 PM
Also, what if I have substantially revised my query letter? (Which I have. It's gone from reading like a paranormal romance to reading like an urban fantasy [which is what the story actually is].) I know I shouldn't query the same agent again, but can I query a different agent in a "R-by-1-is-R-by-all" agency? Or is that tacky?

I wouldn't, especially if they saw any pages or a synopsis. They may not remember your story from the query, but they may. No reason to leave a bad impression. Save those agencies for your next novel.

S. L. Saboviec
07-14-2013, 12:38 AM
Good to know.

Another question about querying within the same agency if they don't say not to: Some agents don't send a rejection and don't say on the website how long their "no response means no" is. Can I assume after a certain amount of time has passed that they're not interested and send it to another agent in the same agency? How long?

Aggy B.
07-15-2013, 02:17 AM
Good to know.

Another question about querying within the same agency if they don't say not to: Some agents don't send a rejection and don't say on the website how long their "no response means no" is. Can I assume after a certain amount of time has passed that they're not interested and send it to another agent in the same agency? How long?

I would guess around three months as that seems to be the typical upper threshold for query responses. (I've gotten a couple requests at around 3-4 months and seen reports of some that were closer to 8 months but that seems to be atypical.) I think the important thing is to pick a reasonable time frame (like 8 or 12 weeks) and stick with it.

Debbie V
07-15-2013, 09:53 PM
I'd go out to six months, maybe even a year, just to cover those folks who are slow. You don't want to create an awkward situation within the agency. That could lead to a rejection by both agents. You could use Query Tracker to help you set a guideline for each agency. Also Google the agent you sent to. You might find out she is on maternity leave or something else that explains a delay.