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missesdash
07-15-2013, 07:33 PM
So I've just parted ways with my agent *wipes tear* but luckily I have a project to query besides the one I've already had on sub.

Anyway I had more than one offer previously and I think one in particular will probably be a good for for me. I'd like to query him with my new project, but I'm wondering about the etiquette for that kind of thing.

"Hello, yes, remember when I went with someone else over you? I change my mind."

What should I mention and what should I leave out? And should I lead with "hey remember me?" I usually lead with my synopsis but I'm told some agents won't read to the end.

I've tried googling this, but when I use "re-query agent" they're all tips on querying an agent who rejected you.

Thanks in advance

xx

Siri Kirpal
07-15-2013, 09:45 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Tell them up front that they offered rep awhile back, that the agent you chose didn't work out, that you've got a new project that maybe they'd like to take a look at. Put it at the beginning, but I wouldn't start, "Hey, remember me?" You still want to be professional.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Sirion
07-15-2013, 09:49 PM
I could be way of base on this, but I would probably mention their previous offer or representation, and just say that you'd like to be considered again. You don't even necessarily have to mention why you left the other agent.

Phaeal
07-15-2013, 09:50 PM
What Sat Nam said, with your reminder of the previous offer right on top. If the agent is a pro, she won't carry a grudge because you turned her down before. She might even still have a few ideas about where to offer the first project.

And if she says no, hey, that's just another query rejection.

The_Ink_Goddess
07-15-2013, 11:27 PM
My opinion: say hey, remember me? I think you'd like this and mention why they'd like it. I personally would leave out the reason why you left your other agent - it's implied that you did but to say a specific reason why runs the risk of drawing unnecessary attention towards a perceived ~shortcoming~ in your work (too dark, not commercial enough, whatever it was) and the fact that you're querying them second. None of this is inherently bad and a lot of it is just a fact of the industry, but I still think it's best not to put it in a query.

But I think you should put the re-querying fact in your query letter. He'll almost certainly remember you if he liked you enough to offer rep and, either way, it'll intrigue him to read on.

Just my opinion. :)

missesdash
07-15-2013, 11:44 PM
Should I mention that the project he liked has been on sub? Should I mention that project at all?

AH. Why am I so anxious? I've done this like a million times before. All right can someone give me an example opening? I'm trying to piece the words together in my head and it all sounds either awkward or too informal.

xx

MarkEsq
07-16-2013, 12:03 AM
Should I mention that the project he liked has been on sub? Should I mention that project at all?

I probably wouldn't at this stage, other than using it to remind him about the off of rep, just focus on the new one. That might even serve to stoke his interest/curiosity more.


AH. Why am I so anxious? I've done this like a million times before. All right can someone give me an example opening? I'm trying to piece the words together in my head and it all sounds either awkward or too informal.
xx

Honestly, I keep trying and see the problem. Could you try something that's both professional but light-hearted? I tend to joke a lot in all situations, so maybe my judgment is off...

Dear -

In October of last year we spoke about my novel, XXX, and you were kind enough to offer representation. I suspect I made a terrible mistake in not taking up your offer, but I am no longer represented by an agent and have completed a new novel I hope you will consider.

--main query--

Witch_turtle
07-16-2013, 12:06 AM
I've never communicated with an agent before but I am pretty good at writing formal, not awkward communication :P Personally I think you should mention the previous project as it will remind the agent of his/her interest. What about something along these lines?

Dear Agent,

Several months ago, you offered to represent my novel INSERT TITLE HERE. The agent I ended up signing with did not turn out to be a good fit, and we have since parted ways amicably. Though I have currently shelved that project, I have another completed manuscript I believe you may also like.

Bob Dragonsbeard is a king's jester who longs for more...blah blah blah query etc etc


ETA: Best of LUCK :)

missesdash
07-16-2013, 12:41 AM
Thank you! You guys are great. I just couldn't figure out how to start off.

He actually said something along the lines of "if it doesn't work out, call me" and I don't think I could reference that without being a tiny bit jokey. But I guess I shall see.

already feeling better

The_Ink_Goddess
07-16-2013, 12:47 AM
I was thinking of something like this?

Dear Agent,

[Time period] ago, you offered to represent my novel, [TITLE]. I've recently completed another manuscript that I think you may enjoy because...[the reason why you think it is a good fit, possibly how it is similar/different to the novel s/he offered to represent so they know what to expect]

Also, if you want to mention the agent, I'd put it like this:

[Time period ago], you offered to represent my novel, [TITLE]. Though I signed with an agent, we've parted ways amicably and I think you may like my new novel, [TITLE], as...[insert reason]

I'm not sure about this. Something to work with.

ETA: sorry, too late! go missesdash go.

Jennifer_Laughran
07-17-2013, 09:05 AM
He won't have forgotten you. Agents say the old "if it doesn't work out, let me know" because they are legit interested in you... and SOMETIMES it doesn't work out and the person comes back! It happens with a certain degree of regularity, in fact.

So while it ISN'T a guarantee that he's going to love the new ms and want to waltz into the sunset with you, it IS pretty much a guarantee that he's going to be excited to hear from you and interested in taking a look at least.

Good luck!

missesdash
07-17-2013, 04:28 PM
He won't have forgotten you. Agents say the old "if it doesn't work out, let me know" because they are legit interested in you... and SOMETIMES it doesn't work out and the person comes back! It happens with a certain degree of regularity, in fact.

So while it ISN'T a guarantee that he's going to love the new ms and want to waltz into the sunset with you, it IS pretty much a guarantee that he's going to be excited to hear from you and interested in taking a look at least.

Good luck!

Thanks! This is what I was hoping. I only started to get paranoid because a non-writer friend suggested it was an awkward situation.

Anyway now I'm obsessing over the query, so I guess I'm right on track.

Lineykins
07-18-2013, 07:58 AM
Sorry things didn't work out with your agent missusdash.

Why not get in contact with the previously interested agent and let him know (in the nice way people have suggested here) that your original manuscript is still available and is he still interested?
Or has it been out on sub all over the place with your old agent?

Good luck.

missesdash
07-18-2013, 10:46 AM
Sorry things didn't work out with your agent missusdash.

Why not get in contact with the previously interested agent and let him know (in the nice way people have suggested here) that your original manuscript is still available and is he still interested?
Or has it been out on sub all over the place with your old agent?

Good luck.

Thanks.

And honestly I'm not sure what qualifies as "sub all over the place" or I'd probably do that. It's been to 10 imprints. I have the list of each house and the editor that read it. Is that "a lot"?

But I've always been told that querying a previously subbed manuscript is bad form? Does that not count when the agent offered on it before?

The_Ink_Goddess
07-18-2013, 03:21 PM
Thanks.

And honestly I'm not sure what qualifies as "sub all over the place" or I'd probably do that. It's been to 10 imprints. I have the list of each house and the editor that read it. Is that "a lot"?

But I've always been told that querying a previously subbed manuscript is bad form? Does that not count when the agent offered on it before?

I (personally) think that querying a previously subbed manuscript is somewhat bad form. Well, not ideal form. Unless you've made changes or whatever. Then again, 10 imprints isn't much (I don't think), so you're not exactly querying a manuscript which has been passed by everyone as a Shiny New Thing.

I sorta think it might be worse if the agent had offered on it before, though? Because then it really is like sloppy seconds. You're sort of saying, "hey, you offered, I wasn't into it, but now I am now that my other agent and our subbing didn't work out, care you still game?" Plus, I assume this was a little while ago if it went to editors under your old agent? I'd want to show him that I'd been productive in our time apart. Personally wouldn't query this agent with that manuscript, but approach him with it after he offers rep if you still wanna work on it.

Does that make sense?

Cathy C
07-18-2013, 03:54 PM
Yeah, Beth's concern was my first thought too. Same genre, same editors. How would Agent B be able to succeed if Agent A failed? But if it's a whole different book, then reminding of a prior offer on a different book doesn't make sense to me either.

If it's the former and it's the same book, I guess if you're completely honest about the circumstances of your firing of the prior agent, then it's up to the agent on whether they think they have anything new to bring to the table.

If it's the latter (a different book) then make sure you mention the previous book and the date of the offer. Let the agent decide whether to ask what happened to that book. If asked, explain.

JMHO

Undercover
07-18-2013, 05:16 PM
I was kinda thinking it was bad form too. But it's worth a shot, right? Worst case scenario would be the agent getting back to you and saying no, thanks and don't query me again cuz you dissed me before. And if that's the case, it is only one bridge burned. It's not like you're burning all the bridges in the universe of agents.

If it doesn't work out, keep querying other ones. Good luck Misses D.

Perks
07-18-2013, 05:26 PM
I did this and it worked out just great. Contact the agent and say something along the lines of "before I query more widely, I wanted to reconnect with you to see if perhaps you were interested..."

Best of luck to you!

Perks
07-18-2013, 05:28 PM
Yeah, Beth's concern was my first thought too. Same genre, same editors. How would Agent B be able to succeed if Agent A failed? But if it's a whole different book, then reminding of a prior offer on a different book doesn't make sense to me either.

If it's the former and it's the same book, I guess if you're completely honest about the circumstances of your firing of the prior agent, then it's up to the agent on whether they think they have anything new to bring to the table.

Yeah, it might matter how widely it was submitted. In my particular case, the rapport with the agent I didn't at first choose was tremendous and the manuscript had not been widely submitted by my first agent, so it all worked out.

Coupland
07-18-2013, 09:47 PM
Perks, I am in a similar position to you but still with agent 1 - why didn't it work out for you? Am considering going back to agent 2 to say the contract is due to end soon if he wants to reconnect.

DahlELama
07-22-2013, 08:40 AM
Greetings from she who empathizes madly! I freaking blog with publishing advice constantly but when I split with my agent and started querying again I suddenly felt like I didn't know a damn thing. It's a weird and uncomfortable situation to be sure, but now that I'm back in the thick of it, I promise you eventually regain your footing!

I wasn't in your exact situation, as I queried totally new agents this time around, but basically, my wording would've been exactly Witch Turtle's. I'd go with that, querying your new one only, and mention the old one only if you get to The Call stage. (Though really, he might mention it.) Then I'd tell him how widely it's been subbed and say you'd love to go back out if he's open to it. (Ten imprints is about one round of submission. Plenty of people succeed on their second or third round. My guess is he'll still be into it, but I wouldn't lead with it.)

Good luck, and if you want to talk in greater depth about it, you know where to find me!

missesdash
07-22-2013, 03:49 PM
All right, so I'm going to say what I did even though it appeared to be a combination of advice from this thread mixed with a few "definitely don't do this" things.

I essentially sent a pre-query query (I know, horrible) because I was getting super antsy. I sent the email and explained the situation in the terms we talked about above and he did remember me and my MS. He asked me to resend it along with the list of who it went to, adding that he would probably want to start fresh, but perhaps after reading it again he'll think of an editor that he'd really like to read it and feel the need to send it out. Regardless he said he'll also be interested in seeing whatever else I'm working on.

So that went well. Now I'm cleaning up the full and sending it later tonight. Once that's out to him, I know I'll revise my other projects much more efficiently because I won't be fretting over this.

Undercover
07-22-2013, 05:40 PM
Cool, Missy. Hope it works out for ya girlie.

Fingers crossed. It's also good to hear he wants to look at other stuff. Very promising.

DahlELama
07-22-2013, 07:45 PM
Ha, well, breaking the "rules" doesn't seem to have hurt you any; glad it worked out! Sometimes, the direct approach just wins :) Can't wait to see who you end up with!

wampuscat
07-22-2013, 08:41 PM
All right, so I'm going to say what I did even though it appeared to be a combination of advice from this thread mixed with a few "definitely don't do this" things.

I essentially sent a pre-query query (I know, horrible) because I was getting super antsy. I sent the email and explained the situation in the terms we talked about above and he did remember me and my MS. He asked me to resend it along with the list of who it went to, adding that he would probably want to start fresh, but perhaps after reading it again he'll think of an editor that he'd really like to read it and feel the need to send it out. Regardless he said he'll also be interested in seeing whatever else I'm working on.

So that went well. Now I'm cleaning up the full and sending it later tonight. Once that's out to him, I know I'll revise my other projects much more efficiently because I won't be fretting over this.

Yay! Sorry to hear about you splitting with your previous agent, but glad that things seem promising already. I've always been a fan of the pieces you post in SYW.

rnpudel
07-23-2013, 07:41 AM
Sounds like it worked out!

Perks
07-23-2013, 04:23 PM
Perks, I am in a similar position to you but still with agent 1 - why didn't it work out for you? Am considering going back to agent 2 to say the contract is due to end soon if he wants to reconnect.I'm sorry! I didn't see this. It's one of those things you can't really spell out in an open forum. She's an awesome, high-powered agent, but alas, all the tumblers didn't line up for us to unlock a successful working relationship.

How's that for meaningless?

There are many reasons for an agenting arrangement to sag. When you've reached the point where you don't have any confidence in it, you just have to, professionally and courteously, extricate yourself. Then there's a phase of freefall and self-doubt. But, if you got an agent once, it's a better chance that you'll get one again. Or so I've heard.

Lineykins
07-26-2013, 07:46 AM
Fantastic missesdash. Sounds very promising.
Please keep us updated on how you go - my fingers are crossed for you.
:-)