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View Full Version : Querying two novels simultaneously, and other stuff. . .



kkbe
04-29-2014, 09:28 PM
I saw a 2011 thread relative to querying two novels simultaneously. Seemed like the general consensus was, don't do it. Choose your strongest prospect and query the hell out of it, query until you've exhausted all hope. Then query the other one.

Then there was Calla Lily, saying she queried three dif. novels at the same time. . .

*sigh*

My novels are both done. Both are suspense. Both might be considered lit fic. Both are narrated by the mc. First person POV. Both have strong voice, both mc's are unconventional, I take liberties with both in terms of writing style and stuff like that--

In other words, I have to believe there's substantial overlap in the agent pool for both novels. I'm seeking out great agents :) who are specifically looking for, you know. . .

I feel really strongly about Novel X but it's going to be a tougher sell, I know it. With Novel X, I've already gone through a long list of agents, a few indie publishers. Had some requests for partials and fulls, still waiting on two fulls. I feel strongly about that novel and I'm not about to give up.

With Novel Y, I've just started the query process, relatively speaking. I think it's got a better chance of getting picked up--not as controversial as X, not as edgy. . .

Trouble is, I'm finding myself looking at agents I've already queried for Novel X. So. . . what do I do, wait on Novel Y? I can't see myself doing that, but how would I bridge querying an agent with something else, when two months ago or whatever, that agent (or his/her intern) sent me a form letter, took a pass? Do I mention that hey, recently I sent you blah blah? If I don't mention it, I feel guilty, like I'm doing something wrong which is certainly not my intent.

Plus, there's that issue from the 2011 thread: that an agent will remember me, remember they passed on my other novel, have a residual bad taste in his/her mouth--

Another issue: My query bio is pretty static: I've written Novel Whatever, have this college degree, I used to earn my living doing this, this and this. So if I query an agent again, with Novel Y this time, do I leave that bio as if I've never introduced myself before??

And I've been saying I'm a new writer but it doesn't seem right to say that. . .I'm not a new writer, per se. I'm an as-yet-unpublished writer. I've written five novels. How do you say that in a query? Or not say that?

Any thoughts, suggestions relative to this angst-ridden ramble? Been kind of a rough day. <--moot points.

Thx, guys.

katiemac
04-29-2014, 10:53 PM
Plus, there's that issue from the 2011 thread: that an agent will remember me, remember they passed on my other novel, have a residual bad taste in his/her mouth--

Another issue: My query bio is pretty static: I've written Novel Whatever, have this college degree, I used to earn my living doing this, this and this. So if I query an agent again, with Novel Y this time, do I leave that bio as if I've never introduced myself before??

And I've been saying I'm a new writer but it doesn't seem right to say that. . .I'm not a new writer, per se. I'm an as-yet-unpublished writer. I've written five novels. How do you say that in a query? Or not say that?

Don't say it. Only include what's relevant. If you don't list previously published works, the agent will understand you don't have any share. Same goes for anything in your bio--even what you do for a living is irrelevant unless it's relevant.

If you have conversations about signing with an agent or if they ask what else you've done, then you can dust off your second book.

That said, I'd say you're pretty safe querying again from 2011. There seems to be an underlining fear of agents, but they're people too. Assuming you didn't present such a disastrous first attempt that a copy is taped above the computer to give the agent a laugh, most people will recognize that some writers keep trying (hopefully with better books).

mayqueen
04-30-2014, 12:20 AM
I feel like you're safe. I'm using mostly the same list of agents to query MS #3 that I used for MS #2 and MS #1. The only time it gets tricky is if you are querying the agent within three months and haven't gotten a rejection or if another agent at the agency is reading your first MS. (Right now I still have one full out on MS #1, so I'm not querying anyone at that agency with MS #3.)

I would hope agents understand that we aren't one-trick ponies. We shouldn't be one-trick ponies. We should be continuously writing new novels and trying new things and querying new projects. Just watch your overlap and if someone requested a full or partial for the first MS, mention it in your query. Otherwise, don't acknowledge the first round.

ETA: I solve the bio problem by not having one. :) I don't have any fiction credits, so I don't include a bio. If the submission guidelines ask for one, I say, "I'm a doctoral candidate in sociology and this is my first novel." That's it. Avoid the issue!

GinJones
04-30-2014, 12:24 AM
Plus, there's that issue from the 2011 thread: that an agent will remember me, remember they passed on my other novel, have a residual bad taste in his/her mouth--

I don't see that as a problem. If they requested pages and ultimately rejected, well, I wouldn't look at it as "rejected," so much as "passed." No implication that it wasn't quality stuff or that they disliked it, just that it wasn't what they were looking for AT THE TIME (or even perhaps now). We're too quick (I know I do it too) to equate the pass with "they thought it sucked," which is not what it means at all. (Okay, sometimes it does, but not in your case.)

They can pass on one project and still want to see the next project. I had an agent recently who passed on a full manuscript, and I immediately responded, thanking for their consideration and saying that while the first one was on submission (it had been on submission a LONG time, although not terribly long with them), I'd written another book, and would they like to see it, and here's a quick query, just in case. They asked for a partial. No apparent bad taste from the first book.

So I don't see the bad taste issue at all, unless the pass was truly a "don't ever darken our doors" type of rejection, which seems unlikely.

As to the overall issue of whether to do two books simultaneously, I'd be inclined, if you've really saturated the market with the first book, to put it on hiatus while you saturate the market with the second one. I wouldn't even worry too much about agents who passed on the first one, and the issue I think you're anticipating: if I sign with the agent for book #2, then I've given up on book #1 permanently, because they've already passed on book #1. I'm not sure that's true. They might not have been willing to take you on based on book #1, but as long as you're already a client for book #2, there's less of a risk for them to also market book #1. (In other words: they believe they'll get paid for selling book #2, so they won't be taking on a client that they think they'll never make any money with.) I'm just guessing here, but I don't think that's an absolute bar to their later taking on book #1 if they're passionate about book #2. They might NOT take on both, ultimately, but that's okay. That doesn't prevent you from agreeing with the agent that you'd still like to market book #1, and will be doing so, possibly with a different agent, but you'd be loyal to this book #2 agent for all things related to book #2, and if this agent is passionate about future books by you, you'd certainly not hold it against them that she didn't feel as passionate about book #1.

As to bio, just go with the standard, as if you've never been introduced, unless you want to make tweaks based on the subject matter of the story. I do adjust a little, based on my story subject. When I query a quilting story, I mention my quilting expertise; when I start to query my garlic farm, I'll mention the garlic I grow.

But as to seniority as a writer, it's really not worth mentioning at the query stage. It's all about the story.

kkbe
04-30-2014, 01:23 AM
Gosh you guys, thank you. I was fretting. Not so much any more.

I shall consider what you're all telling me and try to come to some kind of consensus relative to my novels. My gut feeling is, if an agent snaps up either novel, he/she will likely be willing to at least look at the other one. Two fer the price of one, by cracky.

Anyway, again, thank you katimac, mayqueen, GinJones. Very thoughtful responses, and so dang fast, too. xo kk