Some time ago I wrote a post on Freakishly Unresponsive, Mysteriously Silent, Information-Withholding, Possibly Jekyll-and-Hydeish, Raging-Headache-Inducing, No Good, Very Bad Agents in which I said, “If it is a proposal you want with another agent, the submissions you pulled should be able to be re-sent at a later date. If not, let it die out and move on to another agent with another book.”
Obviously this is a topic that concerns a lot of authors because I’m still receiving questions on the subject. What happens if you can’t get the list of publishers your previous agent has submitted to? How long must you wait before resubmitting that work?
This is a tough situation for anyone and I can warn you my answer isn’t going to be pretty. My advice is that while you should certainly feel free to try and find an agent with that previously shopped work, because you just never know, the best and easiest thing you can do is start writing something fresh and new. Don’t just saddle yourself to the same work. There’s no set time limit to how long you should wait to shop the same work a second time. Some agents might fall in love with it and take the risk of sending it to the same editors a second time. Truthfully though, without having a history, most agents are going to be a tad gun shy, unless they are absolutely confident they know the right person for the book.
In one situation a reader noted that the book her agent was shopping was the first in a nine-part part series of which she was working on the later books. I’ve talked about this before, but will mention it again. I think it’s a mistake to put all of your eggs in one series basket, and this is a prime example of why. Even if your agent had been in close contact and kept you up-to-date on her submission process, what did you plan to do if book number one didn’t sell? My suggestion is to put down the series now, you’ve already gone above and beyond what you can do with it at this point, and start writing something fresh. Something new you can shop to agents and publishers “just in case.”
This is a difficult situation for anyone, but this is why I so strongly suggest career planning. Having a plan ahead of time can help prepare you for any situation, good or bad.