View Full Version : Okay to query agents and publishers at same time w/ different mss?

04-10-2016, 10:42 PM
I have a manuscript I queried agents with 2 years ago. After 28 queries and 12 Rs on full requests, I stopped, because I figured the ms must be fatally flawed. I felt like I should set it aside until I had a better idea how to revise it.

Well, 2 years later, I don't really want to revise it, and I'm not convinced it's critically flawed. While some of the Rs offered feedback, none of it was consistent/glaringly obvious for what I should change. And I have a lot more things I want to write. So, since it was just sitting there on my hard drive, I decided why not try it with a publisher that takes un-agented submissions? I've never tried that before. So I did, and now it's with an editor.

But now I'm also wrapping up edits on my latest ms. I want to try again with agents. This ms is a different genre. So I have a few questions:

1. Do I need to wait until something does or does not happen with the ms that's in an editor's hands before querying the new one?
2. If I was offered a contract, would I be shooting myself in the foot by publishing something in one genre and querying with an ms in a different genre?
3. Is there anything I would need to watch out for in a contract besides options/right of refusal that would limit my ability to query the new ms?

There's a big part of me that thinks I have a query that works well and an ms that's just sitting on my hard drive, so I might as well keep sending the dang thing out. But I don't want to accidentally do something that screws up my chances/options with the second ms. Thanks for any help!

04-10-2016, 11:25 PM
1. No
2. No
3. Don't know!

If you got an offer on that MS you could contact the agents you want to work with and let them know. You'd be handing them 15% of your royalties with no work on their side and they could get you a better contract to help with question 3. But if you wanted to publish this one on your own, that won't hinder you in getting an agent for the other one.

Even some agented authors don't send all their MSs to their agents: they self-publish some, or sell some by themselves.

Old Hack
04-11-2016, 10:20 AM
When you get a good agent one of the first questions they usually ask is, "What else do you have?" They'll want to see that first novel of yours, and if it's good enough to attract twelve full requests there must be something to it. I'd query your newer work and hold back on doing anything with the first one, at least for a while.

CL Polk
04-11-2016, 07:42 PM
I would never do this. If I want an agent, then I would hold back on everything but getting that agent. hold Book A until you have the agent, then present book A to them and find out if they think they can do anything with it.

04-11-2016, 10:15 PM
I see no problem with this. It's not uncommon for writers to publish with a small press and then land an agent. (And if the press isn't small, then even better.) What else is there to do with manuscripts that are sitting on your hard drive that have already been the query rounds? But after querying three manuscripts and not managing to secure an offer, I'm pretty jaded. :) Especially if you are writing in a more niche genre, a smaller press or non-agented route to publication might not be the worst thing. And as far as I know, publishing with a small press isn't necessarily going to hurt your chances down the road.

OP, I wouldn't wait to begin querying the new manuscript. I don't see any reason you would have to. If you get an offer of representation on the new manuscript, you can bring up the other one, whatever stage in the submission process it's at. And I can't see how publishing in one genre and querying in another would hurt your chances at all. You might want to look into how other writers publish in different genres, though. Maybe a pen name or something? And I'm not sure about the contract issue. I don't think so, especially if the two manuscripts are in two different genres.

04-12-2016, 01:56 AM
Thanks for all the opinions and advice. It sounds like there's no issue with doing it that way, that it's just a question of goals. I can see why it would be smart to hold it back, since I'm so close to querying my next one anyway. If I got an agent who wasn't interested in the old one, or didn't rep that genre, presumably I could go and submit to publishers that take un-agented submissions. At the same time, querying can take a long time, and there's no guarantee it will end in getting an agent, so.... I'll have to ponder next steps more after I hear back from the one editor who has it.