I wrote a book two years ago, and queried your company for representation. It got as far as a partial request, but the novel was turned down. Several other queries were sent out to the agencies that I thought would best fit myself and my writing style over the next year, but all got no farther than the partial request, and were eventually rejected. The book was later rewritten, and got a full manuscript request and an offer from a New York house. I would like to use this opportunity to get an agent and of course have the agent negotiate on my behalf. I really like some of the agents who have rejected the work, so would it be okay to requery them even though they rejected the partial, and if I do should I mention the previous version?
I say go for it. With an offer in hand you are in the driver’s seat more than ever. What’s the worst that can happen? These agents say “no” again? You’ve got an offer from a publisher, you can easily get over that rejection. If these are agents you really like and feel you could work well with, then I say keep knocking on their doors, with one caveat: Don’t rule out that there are a lot of great agents out there, and in addition to those who may have already rejected you, you should also consider some fresh names on your list.
One of the reasons you might be getting rejected is because you’re not actually the good fit you thought you were. By talking to agents beyond those who’ve already seen your work you are giving yourself a better chance of finding the perfect agent, and not just a great agent.
As for whether or not you should mention that the agents had previously seen the work, honesty is always the best policy. Absolutely let them know. They might figure it out anyway, and it’s better coming from you. If that means an automatic rejection, it wasn’t meant to be, but if your revisions fix exactly what they thought needed fixing, then you’re in great shape.