You submitted to an agent and got a rejection letter. Since then, you’ve learned better skills to hone your craft and edited your manuscript completely…again. Maybe you realized your hook didn’t work in the original query and, after help from betas, perfected it. Now you want to submit to the same agent. Should you?
In most cases, the answer is no. Some agents even post directly on their site not to submit the same projects. If the hook in the first query didn’t make them ask for more, then the agents probably didn’t want to represent that type of story (not that the story was bad), and most likely still won’t want to represent it.
But what if you sent sample pages with the previous query? The agent might have liked the query but didn’t connect to the characters in the story, or the opening was weak, maybe starting in the wrong place, etc. Sometimes they tell you this. Mostly, they don’t. But if they do, this is a good opportunity for sending a new query after major rewriting. But I suggest asking if they would allow a resubmission. Why? Because most agents can see through weak pages and will still know if they don’t want to rep the story. If they didn’t connect to those, you can risk looking like a pest. You don’t want them remembering your name for the wrong reasons.
And for the love of scrumptious cheeses, DON’T ask every agent if you can resubmit. Read the last sentence of the previous paragraph if you don’t know why.
With that said, here are some hints for sending a query to an agent for the same manuscript:
- Don’t rush the rewrite. You can make new errors, like leaving half sentences from deletions.
- Have betas read EVERYTHING. Just because they read the original, don’t be overconfident you can make the adjustments without them. You’re too close to the story by this point and may read things the way you hear them in your head and not the way they actually present themselves on paper.
- Alert the agent this is a resubmission. This is especially important if they gave you some hint to why they originally passed, or approved sending them a new submission Let them know briefly that you feel your query/manuscript better conveys your hook and characters after rewriting.
- Wait six months. If you didn’t know why the agent passed, this is a good rule to follow only after making your massive rewrites. Give them time to forget your original query. In this case, you don’t necessarily have to tell them it’s a resubmission. NOTE: If you didn’t rewrite the manuscript DON’T RESEND! And remember, if they decline for a second time DON’T RESEND!
And I think this is worth repeating, DON’T resubmit to every agent. I’m not the best with numbers but I think you should keep this down to like a five or ten percent ratio. No one wants to be known as the Madman-Query-Dude. Just sayin’.
As always, best of luck!
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.