Dear Miss Snark;
Very recently I parted company with the small publishing house (not a vanity or subsidy press) I was with over issues of incomplete orders and failure to pay royalties. I have legal releases returning the rights of all my titles printed under this publisher back to me.
Now I'm getting ready to shop one of these novels around to agents, however I'm wondering how much information should I place in the initial query? Should I mention it was previously published and by who? I have no problems with coming forward with any or all of this information, however I don't want to kill my first chance with an agent by overloading a query with too much detail.
As an agent, how do you recommend I handle this situation?
You have to mention it, and you have to give the publisher and year published in the query letter. This isn't a question of a work that languished on an agent's desk, or even made the rounds of editors. This was published. What you're shopping now is not new work; it's a reprint. Most agents won't even look, me included.