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What To Do When You Queried too Soon

It happens to the best of authors. You finished the book, edited, and queried. You were ready and your book was ready. And then, suddenly, somewhere along the line, you realized this book was nowhere near ready. You realize that you queried too soon.
I sent queries last summer to approximately 50 agents. I received 2 full requests (even one from your agency!) and 2 partials. After the rejections, I stopped sending queries because this indicated my manuscript wasn’t ready.
In the past year I have torn my novel apart. I removed and rewrote 20% of it and even my query letter is different reflecting the story/theme changes. I am ready and excited to start querying again!
Specific Questions:
Can I query the same agents?
If so, do I need to inform them I contacted them previously?
Should I contact the agents that asked for full/partials or move on to a different agent at the same agency?
If I approach a different agent at the same agency do I need to tell them their co-worker passed?
How could I word this fact without it being a turn off?
What other advice would you have for someone in this situation?

When reading my answer, remember my mantra, “the worst that can happen is you get a rejection.”

Query again. Query all 50 agents you queried before. If you previously received a rejection from them I would definitely tell them you had queried before, but have completely revised the book. If they are a, “no response means no agent” I think you can choose to tell them or not.

Do the agents still have fulls partials? If they still have them I would get in touch and resend the new material. My suggestion would not be to ask first but to ask for forgiveness later. In other words, contact them to tell them you have revised the material and send the material in the same email. If they are Query Manager agents simply reattach the new material and send a note with an explanation.

If you choose to send to a different agent at the agency I don’t know that you need to tell them a coworker passed. After all, this is a different book. Again, as for forgiveness later.

When telling agents simply say something about having done extensive rewrites and making sure they have the most updated manuscript. If it’s a query you could use similar language.

My only piece of advice is to do this once and move on. In other words, you queried the book, you rewrote and queried the book again. Now it’s time to start something fresh. Let this book do its magic on its own and start another.

Good luck!

Category: Blog


One comment

  1. Good advice! I’ll bet this situation happens more often than not and it’s great to get your perspective on how author’s should handle the re-querying step.

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