REvising doesn't mean REsending

Dear Divine One (somehow Miss Snark just doesn't quite say it), (Miss Snark like "Oh AweFul One a lot too)

First, I hope his doggieship is doing well and catching many squirrels in the park. (hope springs eternel in the poodle pack; squirrel always is, never to be ketched)

I have two questions now torturing my soul:

The film rights for my novel have been optioned for a year and a half and I know from the screenwriter that he is no longer shopping them. Do I still need to include a note in my query letter about the option agreement - it expires in October? (1)

Second: With all the discussion on your blog about resubmits, I desperately need Miss Snark to translate a rejection letter. (2)

After reading a full, an agent wrote, "I like the idea for this very much but I'm afraid I wasn't as enthusiastic about the execution as I'd need to be . . . She wishes me luck without inviting me to resubmit if I rewrite it.

By the time I received the above rejection, I had extensively rewritten it and now, four months later, have rewritten it yet again. The rejected version I sent her was definitely not ready (isn't hindsight cool?)

Do I resubmit? I like this agent very much - the emails we've exchanged have indicated to me that she would be a good match and that she does represent what I write - good track record too. Is she just too nice to tell me outright not to quit my day job?

Thank you for your wisdom and support. I have taped a "kick me" sign to my back in anticipation of your answer. I love your snarkiness; it makes me laugh every day.

1. Yes you should mention this. It may not come to anything but it's a nice little enticement. I know I always like to see query letters that might allow me to fling myself upon Mr. Clooney at the Oscars someday.

2. No. I can't tell you how much I hate it when people do this. I really do try to restrain myself from cruelty ('lose my address! leave me alone! your poodle wears Army boots!') but when I haven't asked someone to resubmit and they send me the "new and improved version" it frequently IS new and improved...and I still don't want it.

People send me stuff all the time with cover letters that start "well you didn't like One, but I've got Two here and it's much better". Just because I read One does NOT mean I'm predisposed to want to read OneRevised or Two. If I think I do, I'll tell you. Honest.

Do NOT mistake pleasant email chat for interest. Here is how you know she wants to read something. She will say "send me...". ANYTHING else is NOT a request.

There are 6 bazillion agents in New York City. Query others. When you sell this tome for a gazillion dollars she'll be damn sorry and come crawling back and then YOU can say to her "I like you very much but I'm afraid I wasn't as enthusiastic about your taste as I'd need to be".


Anonymous said...

For what I write, the list of (non-scam) agents who specialize in it is not all that huge and has remained surprisingly static for the last few years. When I have something new, the list of people to query bears a strong resemblance to the ones I queried last time.

I still want to do my best to avoid tainting a new project by associating it with one they didn't want, so I just neverever mention prior failures or rejections in my query. No "my last one wasn't quite right, so how about this?" I just query each project like it's in a vacuum and hope for the best.

Heather said...

I know not to resend Novel A to an agent unless she asks to see it revised, but I didn't realize that I shouldn't send her Novel B, C, or Q if she didn't ask to see more of my work. Am I reading this correctly?


Anonymous said...

Heather, I think I means to not mention the previous rejects--even if you received a personal note--when you send the next novel. Though, I read it at first like you did.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark makes a well articulated point.


The chances of an agent re-reading your revised version if you DON'T resend it. 0%

Kind of hard to do worse than that.

zknkibb said...

Heather, I think that's right. If the agent doesn't say "keep me in mind for future projects," I suspect that's pretty much it.

Andrea said...

Wow. Great post. As a newbie, I must say that it was rather comforting. I love your blog (it seems, one must say this at some poiunt...). Regardless, I DO love it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with "nobody". LOL. I send new projects to previously contacted agents all the time. And I've been successful doing it. I'm sure some of them agree with MS and don't like it, but many others are fine with it. Since you don't know which are which, it's always worth a try.

Anonymous said...

I've been submitting my work to agents for more than two years.
In the beginning, I received comments, most of which were useful.
Now, even though I think the work is stronger, I'm receiving more simple "no thanks."
At a recent conference I attended an agent said she won't comment any more, because the authors take that as an automatic invite to resubmit.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I don't know why an agent couldn't send comments and just add a statement to the effect that the comments are FYI and she doesn't care to see the reworked project.

Seems to me that if Novel A is rejected a person could send Novel B without mentioning the previous work. I doubt an agent with a slush pile to the ceiling really memorizes the names and addresses of every author whose work she rejects. If Novel B is enthusiastically accepted and profitably sold, the author could then tell the agent that previously rejected Novel A has been revised and perhaps is worth another look.