I’m considering submitting my manuscript to you, but before I do, I was wondering if you would prefer NOT to see a submission on a book that’s already been submitted to a publisher?
Well, that depends . . . is the book with one publisher or has it already been seen and rejected by every publisher I could possibly think of? This isn’t a decision I can make based on a question like this. Like a lot of the questions I receive, this is a decision I would have to make based on the query letter.
While agents have certainly posted a number of rules on query letters over the years, I think if you read them all through you might see that we really aren’t asking for all that much. Sure, things irritate us and yes we often post about them. That’s what a lot of our blogs are for and that might be where the confusion comes in. The truth though is that we don’t know until we’ve read it; sometimes that means the query and sometimes that means the book.
When in doubt, just send the query. The worst that will happen is you’ll get rejected.