View Full Version : Resubmitting agented novel from 8 years ago

07-15-2015, 06:40 AM
In 2007 an agent was representing my novel under a verbal contract, nothing signed. It went to publishers at the very worst of the economic panic that summer and for whatever other reasons, came close but never sold. The agent and I never officially parted ways. She asked if I had any other novels, I sent one that wasn't quite as good, never heard back from her, and that was that.

I'd like to try marketing the novel again. Current events have made it seem kinda trendy all of a sudden and I also wonder how much the economic panic did hurt it.

After eight years, what do I do? Am I still under contract to the original agent? I'd gladly pay her 15%, because I felt bad about how hard she worked with no luck. Do I submit only to publishers who accept unagented submissions or can I search for a new agent? How do I explain all this to a new agent? FWIW the original agent has moved on to representing different genres and probably wouldn't be interested.

07-15-2015, 08:01 AM
I'd try and contact her anyway and see what she thinks. Since nothing's in writing, you might be able to find another agent for it, but without at least contacting your first agent, I'm not sure. I'd hate for it to get around that you were looking for another agent without formerly severing ties with this one. Know what I mean?

Besides, what if your old agent turns out to be really excited about revisiting this project? It'd save you having to go through the meat grinder of finding another one...and if she's not, it'd be nice to get that decision in writing.

07-17-2015, 03:27 AM
In 2007 an agent was representing my novel under a verbal contract, nothing signed.

You have no contract. But if the agent still exists, and you were happy with their effort, why not contact them first?

This time, get it in writing.


07-17-2015, 06:15 AM
Contact the agent, sever the contract as nicely as possible, and ask for a list of the publishers she submitted to. If you get a new agent, be clear and honest about the publishers that the former agent submitted to. It's the high road thing to do. If you want to go with other publishers that don't require an agent, try that route.

12-26-2015, 08:13 PM
I am in a very similar situation as this. Let's say you do decide to part ways (it was amicable in my case) with the old agent, do you mention that you were previously represented in the query to new potential agents or mention it only if you get interest?

12-27-2015, 12:57 AM
That was a long time ago. What have you written since? Your writing should be eight years better, and you should have other novels out there. If this novel is both good, and especially topical for today, an agent might take it on, but because this novel has already made the rounds of big publishers, your best chance of selling it will be to a small publisher where you don't need an agent, or to a large publisher after you sell them a different novel.

12-27-2015, 07:17 AM
Thanks, James. Not quite 8 years, but it has been 5. I was asked to make revisions after and initial push based on the feedback, which I did, but the second version was never sent out (which is a reason for the agent switch). But that aside, I do have other work I can pitch, so I'll see what type of responses I get with that, good advice. However, I think this original piece has the most market appeal.