9.18.2005

To Dream the Impossible Dream

A Snarkling high on WhiteOut wonders:


I'm wondering about querying agents again AFTER a major change has been made to a fiction ms (i.e. main character changed from a woman to a man which now leads to a more traditional relationship with another character, man and woman rather than woman and woman.) I realize that there are a "gazillion" agents in NY, but there are still those that fall into a select group that have high sales and would be considered a "dream agent." Would it be improper to query those agents again with the changed manuscript?


Let's distinguish between improper and useful. Improper is telling Miss Snark she's a nitwit for overlooking your sure-to-be-a-bestseller. Improper is accosting Miss Snark in the powder room at BEA and thrusting pages at her while she files her teeth. Improper is sending naked photos of oneself inscribed "you coulda had me at hello", particularly when you send them to Miss Snark's penthouse and Grandmother Snark opens the mail.

Useful is more what you're asking. Will it do you any good? Well, it can't hurt. And agents are looking for good work. If you reworked something significantly give it a shot.

But I must caution you, if the only thing an agent didn't like was some character stuff, s/he'd probably send you a note that said so. I don't send form rejection letters to people I think just need a bit of reworking. Those folks get specific letters and suggestions. I don't send many of those letters, maybe three a month, but I do send them.

Don't be disappointed if s/he says no again. Just get out that handy dandy list of the nightmare agents...well..what's the opposite of a dream agent anyway?? --- and query them.

You might surprise yourself.

2 comments:

Stay At Home Writer said...

Thanks for your wisdom!

Jillian said...

So, here is a related question to your statement, "I don't send form rejection letters to people I think just need a bit of reworking. Those folks get specific letters and suggestions."

I once received just such a letter from a top agent -- lovely letterhead, personal signature, the works. The advice was invaluable, but it did not include an actual suggestion to "resubmit at some point."

So, when YOU send a personal letter of this nature, do you have expectations? Do you specifically ask to see something "later?" Or might you be "testing" the writer to see if she's up to snuff?

The agent who honored me with this kind of personal response went so far as to express "frustration" at having to pass my work by. What does that say to you? What should it say to me?

(For me, it ultimately led to serious revisions resulting in a better work.)