When an agent says "yes" to your second manuscript

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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When an agent says "yes" to your second manuscript

Post by DMM86 » June 13th, 2012, 11:32 pm

I am currently in the process of finishing/revising my first novel and preparing to pass it off to my beta readers for feedback. In order to avoid the urge to query, I want to start outlining and writing novel #2 (no relation to #1). However, the situation has me thinking: What happens if I end up sitting on novel #1 long enough to take a break from querying it and start querying #2 (when it's ready) and am offered representation by an agent who previously passed on #1? (This is assuming I followed the re-querying suggestions previously posted by Mr. Bransford.) Does that make novel #1 officially dead if I decide to sign with the agent? I know the situation may differ based on what exactly the agent passed on (query letter, partial, full, etc), but I would appreciate any opinions or insight.

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Re: When an agent says "yes" to your second manuscript

Post by HillaryJ » June 14th, 2012, 1:49 am

I don't think there's any way to answer this hypothetical. In the event it occurs, have the discussion with the agent. If she believes in book #2, she may be willing to put the time and effort into helping you to get book #1 into shape. Alternatively, by the time this occurs, you may have advanced in your writing skills enough that you are no longer concerned with book #1.

For now, I suggest focusing on what you can control: finishing and polishing book #1. Publishing is a slow game. Worry about what you can control, such as finishing quality works, surrounding yourself with diverse critique partners, mastering the query letter and being flexible. Letting yourself get distracted by "what if"s will only delay you from reading, writing, and editing.
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Re: When an agent says "yes" to your second manuscript

Post by Sommer Leigh » June 14th, 2012, 2:18 pm

I agree with Hillary. That's going to be entirely up to discussion between you and the agent in question. The best bet is to be honest with the agent, tell them that they once passed on the manuscript but maybe explain that it's been revised and gone through some beta readers for help. My gut tells me they'll either be interested in giving it a second look and maybe helping you work through any issues they saw the first time they passed on it, or they'll advise you on what to do with it from there, if anything. It is very possible your voice and your talent developed fully with the second novel and never did with the first.

Good luck!
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Re: When an agent says "yes" to your second manuscript

Post by KyleS » June 15th, 2012, 3:56 pm

I agree with the above comments - way too many "ifs" in the hypo. Personally, if there's a taker on any of your books, just be thrilled! (I don't mean that negatively - most writers would love to have interest in any of their books.)

However, I'd like to relate a story I heard from a well-known author (won't say who) about his endeavor to get his first book published. Maybe it'll give you some insight/hope. He met with an agent who liked his first book's writing style, but passed because he didn't think it would sell. When the agent asked if we was working on anything else, the writer told the agent about his current book (book #2), which the author requested. Book #2 ended up getting published (and became a huge hit series), leaving book #1 behind. Years later, after the series for book #1 was completed, the author went back to book no. 1 and decided to re-write it. I asked him what that process was like so many years later and he said he now couldn't believe he was trying to tell the story without certain characters and felt that the story was strong because he was a more experienced writer. That book has now published and is becoming a well-sold series as well. Interesting story - guess the point is you never know!

Good luck!

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