Mentioning Past Requested Material in a Query

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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adaptation
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Mentioning Past Requested Material in a Query

Post by adaptation » March 14th, 2010, 10:14 pm

I'm going to query an agent who requested material from me on a previous project a couple years ago...and then rejected it. Should I mention this or not?

Something along the lines of 'We've corresponded before about my novel X.'

I know it's good to personalize queries, and I have a hard time with that most the time, so I think that since she and I have a past connection that could be good...but then again, I know it's a bad idea to mention unpublished projects to agents.

So what should I do?

Thanks.

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gonzo2802
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Re: Mentioning Past Requested Material in a Query

Post by gonzo2802 » March 14th, 2010, 10:46 pm

The previous material that the agent requested and rejected, did she say anything along the lines of "I'd be interested in reading any future material"?

My thought process is - if the agent told you she'd be interested in seeing any future work, then I'd definitely mention it while querying with this one. If she sent you a regular form rejection letter back then, I'd probably let that past connection go unmentioned.

adaptation
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Re: Mentioning Past Requested Material in a Query

Post by adaptation » March 14th, 2010, 10:55 pm

It doesn't seem like she asked to see anything else, but it wasn't a form letter reject either. She'd jotted something down in pen on the original query, to the extent of 'It's interesting but I'm not drawn in enough' -- nothing too encouraging or discouraging.

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gonzo2802
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Re: Mentioning Past Requested Material in a Query

Post by gonzo2802 » March 15th, 2010, 10:11 am

In that case, it's really your call. If you feel more comfortable using that as a way to personalize, I don't think it would hurt to mention. It isn't likely the agent will remember your manuscript, or particularly care that she read something a couple of years ago, but it may suggest to her there was something about your writing before that she must have liked enough to request a ms.

The goal is to make sure your query letter is so strong, the issue of whether she's read your previous work is nothing but an afterthought!

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Mentioning Past Requested Material in a Query

Post by Nathan Bransford » March 15th, 2010, 11:58 am

Yes, I'd definitely mention it. I'm usually more favorably inclined to request something again if I requested it the first time around, but either way I'd like to know. You'll save the agent a hunt through their e-mail archives when your name sounds familiar.

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Kirril
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Re: Mentioning Past Requested Material in a Query

Post by Kirril » March 15th, 2010, 4:11 pm

Yes. I've mentioned previously requested materials to any agents who have done so in the past and almost all of them request at least a partial on the current project.

adaptation
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Re: Mentioning Past Requested Material in a Query

Post by adaptation » March 15th, 2010, 10:32 pm

Thanks everyone! I'll definitely mention it then & I hope this book goes over better with her this time.

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