Help Please! Resubmitting to same agent

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Rachel Caldecott

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My first list of agents was such a good one - all the top names. However, since that first wave of rejections, I've been selecting more and more obscure agencies for each re-re-resubmission.
I can admit now that while my original idea was good, the writing wasn't up to muster, so the rejections were justified.
10k words shorter now, with more action, added scenes, and tighter writing, I'm ready to resubmit under a different title, and with a much improved covering letter (thank goodness, because the first ones were terrible).
So my question is... is 3 years long enough to leave it before submitting to someone who's turned you down once before?
 
Wow, great question. If the agencies on your list have had success with your genre, you always have an opportunity to have the agent read beyond the query letter (if it is good enough). If the opening 500 words tease, then you have a chance to get a request for a full.

The reason it's a great question - every agent is unique. There is no pat answer. Make sure you have read and follow the submission guidelines.

I've asked a number of agents this question when dealing with them concerning piracy of one of their clients collections. A second or third submission gets as much attention as a first (which isn't much). Eighty percent won't or can't put a finger on what makes them request a full. The most common answer is "I know it when I see it. There will be something that pushes you to continue."

I'd say it can't hurt to re-submit.
 
I would give it a go. Why not? It sounds like you've changed it enough, and they may be impressed with how much you have improved (that is if they remember your last submission, which they might not).
Best of luck! :)
 
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so re-submit to agents you queried before. I heard of a sci-fi author, whose name escapes me, who approached an agency specialising in his genre eleven times, as they'd secured publishing deals for authors that had been his inspiration...and he was sure that his work was perfect for them. On his twelfth submission, he was invited to send his full manuscript, which they loved. Finally at an interview with the agent, he mentioned how many times he'd tried before, and she knew nothing of his efforts! His book was published to favourable reviews.

One aspect of querying that bothers me the most, is that you could have written the very best story about something that's ever been written, and it could be immaculately edited and of the correct length, but if someone at the agency doesn't consider it to be a commercial prospect it will be rejected. And how do they look into the future and decide that?

I'll be returning to querying in a few weeks, and will approach some agencies I've submitted to before. It's said that one should seek out startup agencies, who are actively seeking clients, though it's wise to look at the experience of the agent to make sure they know the industry. At least one gets feedback from them. Of almost 500 submissions I've made in the last five years, I've received just four personalised replies—all from new agencies.
 
Question though: would one mention the previous attempts, saying it's been rewritten? Or just go ahead and send a fresh sub as if it were the first?
 
A lit agent at a conference told me that they get thousands of query letters weekly. Oh, yours was one of them? You either got no reply at all or a standardized rejection? You don't seriously think we remember the names, titles, synopsis plotlines of all those, do you? Of course you should requery. Somewhat different if a lit agent asked for additional (e.g. sample chapters) and then wrote back with a "thanks but not for me", even more so if the agent requested a full.
 
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