Why Responding to a Rejection with a Query is a Bad Idea

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Mar 25 2016

I’m pretty sure most of you can figure this out, but it’s amazing how often someone will respond to my rejection letter (usually on requested material) with a query for another book. The problem is that if I didn’t ask to see your next book you’ve now provided me with all of the reasons why I didn’t like the first one. You’ve sent my rejection letter with your query.

I have no issue with authors querying agents on their next books (whether or not requested). In fact, I encourage it. Some of my most talented clients were once rejected by me. I do think however that you need to give it a little time, and maybe an edit. If I said I rejected your first book because the voice felt off or the pacing was wrong, maybe you need to take the time to read over subsequent books to see if there’s anything that needs fixing.

While agents are always hungry for more material, they are also looking for that one thing that gives them an easy reject. Don’t hand it to them in your email.

8 responses to “Why Responding to a Rejection with a Query is a Bad Idea”

  1. Avatar LSC says:

    That makes sense. If book 1 is a no, don’t send book 2 with a note that says “well, maybe I can interest you in this one?”

    But let’s say that after you reject an author’s manuscript, the author goes on to write an absolutely brilliant new book. Now let’s say this author really admires you and wants to work with you, and their manuscript is exactly the sort that you tend to represent and/or is on your wish list. Should/should not the author reveal that this is not the first time you’ve communicated?

    Thanks in advance. Interesting topic!

    • Jessica Faust Jessica Faust says:

      I’m always interested in seeing queries, even from authors I’ve rejected. As I said in the post, many of the clients I represent were once rejected by me. It was later, with another book, that we connected. I honestly don’t think it’s necessary to say that you were previously rejected, unless you have something positive to say about the experience.

  2. Avatar LSC says:

    Thanks for clarifying! 🙂

  3. Avatar Charles Femia says:

    Hi Jessica,

    I recently had an agent reject a partial but didn’t give a reason as to why. I followed up to ask if there was something specific that they didn’t like but they never responded. I only wanted to improve my writing but now feel that maybe I crossed some line and shouldn’t have asked. Was I wrong to do so? Thanks for reading and the posts.


    • Jessica Faust Jessica Faust says:

      Never feel like you were wrong to ask a question. The agent might not have had time to answer and if she felt you crossed a line, she’s not the agent for you.

  4. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    It’s encouraging to know that a rejection once doesn’t affect future queries (unless you attache the rejection letter of course, lol).

  5. Avatar JEN says:

    Made this mistake. Learned from it. 🙂