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What Happens to Old Projects When You Get Representation

As you know, BookEnds encourages writers to keep submitting. Just because I passed on one of your books doesn’t mean the next one won’t be the perfect fit. I can tell you in a number of cases with my clients I have offered representation on the second or even third book an author submitted.

What I’ve never talked is what happens to that project I once passed on.

In my video on an agent answers your questions about representation a reader asks:

I have a question…so, I queried you, you passed. That’s cool. But I have another project I’m working on you might be interested in. Should I query you again with my new project and you love it and want to rep me, what happens with the project you passed on? Would you be willing to take a look at it or is it still a pass?

Please, please, please query me again! I never want to be the agent that people stop querying, especially if they think their work is right for me.

What you’ve given yourself here is a perfect question to ask an agent when representation is offered. What will happen to my older projects? I’m really passionate about an older project and wonder if you’d be able to look at it before I make a final decision?

How an agent handles this will be different for everyone, but also what you want to hear might change. Often I find that older projects come with older problems, issues an author has learned to fix in newer writing. One thing to consider is whether that older project is as good as your current one (it probably shouldn’t be). It might be a great idea and a story of your heart, but is it as well done?

I would definitely be willing to discuss the older project. In my mind, nothing is ever really off the table.

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4 comments

  1. I couldn’t have asked it better myself! I am keeping the question and answer tucked neatly away someplace for future contemplation as I complete my 2nd manuscript. ( You also passed on my 1st query!)

  2. I am finding that myself with my shifter world.
    I love the world and the characters, but Tahra’s story has been rewritten so many times as I’ve learnt new things and found errors in my writing.
    I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy with this story or if I should wipe the slate clean and write something new in the same world.

  3. Hopefully you will have the skills to improve those earlier (learning) manuscripts so even if you sign with an agent who previously rejected your earlier mss they will find themselves unable to pass up the reworked version. My dream anyway.

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