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Submitting a New Manuscript to an Agent Who Has Previously Rejected You

From a reader:

If I submit a new manuscript to an agent who previously requested (and rejected) a full from me, should I mention this to them when querying the new book?

No doesn’t mean “always no.” In other words, just because an agent passes on a previous submission doesn’t mean she’s closed her door to you, it just means that book didn’t work. A number of BookEnds clients were previously rejected by the agent who now represents them or another BookEnds agent. Markets change, you change, we all have different interests.

If the previous book was rejected with detailed revisions and a specific request to submit future works I would definitely mention that you had submitted before. If the rejection seemed more or less standard I wouldn’t bother.

Good luck and thank you for the question.

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3 comments

  1. I also wondered this. I had several agents praise the theme, my voice, and the plot after requesting a full ms, but ultimately rejected it. Since then, I hired an editor and significantly revised it, but the premise is the same. It’s been over a year since I sent out the earlier version and I wondered if I query those same agents without mentioning it (if they’re still interested in cozies), would they remember having read it just from my query (and assume it’s the same)? If I remind them what they liked about my earlier version, I’m also reminding them of their rejection, it seems. But I wasn’t sure if it was bad form to send it again without saying anything, so thanks for this response. I didn’t want to be one of “those” writers.

  2. There you go! I always assumed you never mentioned rejections unless the agent had specifically stated something like: while this didn’t suit I’d like to see future work

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