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When to Say When

In response to my post on Using Referrals and Requests, a reader asked:

I have a general question: let’s say you’ve requested three different partials from one author (over time, clearly); two of those became full requests. If you pass on all three, should the author continue to query you on the next project, or is she/he wasting your time by doing so?

(I’m in the situation—or could be soon. The agent has my full right now, but I haven’t heard back either way. I really like the agency, and I’d be thrilled to be repped by them, but I wonder when they want to read more but it doesn’t seem to fit. . . .)

My advice is that if you really feel this is an agent you want to work with and strongly believe you would be a good fit, then keep it coming. Requests for fulls mean that she probably likes your voice and style, now it’s just finding a plot that fits. I wouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket, but if it’s meant to be I believe it will.

—Jessica

Category: Blog

5 comments

  1. I have a little experience with this now. I’ve been encouraged to re-query agents who’ve previously shown interest (personal notes, requests for partials) but have rejected. It is so unbelievable difficult to re-query! For me, it’s not the fear of rejection, because I fear nothing. But, I think a lot of us hear a ghost from our childhoods muttering in our ears. “Don’t be a pest!” Sending a re-query to an agent who has previously rejected makes me feel like a terrible pest! But, I’ve been assured I’m not! This is just the way the business is. Still hard to make that ghost shut the heck up though.

  2. If the agent keeps asking for your work – for all of it – then you’re very close to being what she wants. Yes, keep querying her, and keep improving your writing, too. Eventually, you should get a yes from her. Good luck!

  3. Thank you! The agency did pass on the last one, sigh. I am querying elsewhere, of course, but I will try them (and another agent who has also requested fulls multiple times) again. Thank you very much!

  4. I have a friend who queried her agent something like eight different times–and she was eventually accepted. Take that for whatever it’s worth. 🙂

  5. I queried BookEnds a few years ago and got a request for the full ms. After reading it, they sent a ‘we like it, but don’t love it, and we need to love it in order to sell it’ type rejection. Positive, but still no.

    The ms has been revised a few times since, but I won’t re-query when it’s done.

    OTOH, I would consider querying them again with a different novel, but since they didn’t say revise and resubmit to the one they rejected, I’m assuming something about that particular ms didn’t work for them.

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