4.07.2007

The Fog of Query

Miss Snark-

I have diligently tried to follow the mysterious and myriad rules that writers must follow when querying agents. I know that if agent A at agency 1 rejects me, I should not query another agent there.

I just got a rejection from Agent C (separate agency) who enthusiastically suggested I query Agent B at agency 1. So now I am conflicted. Should I have assumed Agent A passed my mss to Agent B and she passed, or should I take Agent's C suggestion and query Agent B?

Thank you for your blog and the constant help you give to us nitwits.


You're not a nitwit, sorry. You can try out again next week.

You query Agent B directly. You say "Agent C suggested I query you". You don't need to mention Agent A was shortsighted enough to pass already.

What you DO NOT say is "Agent C rejected me but said you were the lucky next winner" and you don't say "Agent C referred me/recommended me". Agent C suggested Agent B, use that language, and that alone.

Querying is a minefield, no doubt about it, but unlike other weapons, the slings and arrows of obstreperous agents won't actually remove body parts from unwary writers. You'll live to type another day.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've queried different agents at the same agency several times (not all at once, though, and after some time has passed). Is that some big rule I just broke?

ORION said...

I'm so HAPPY.
Obstreperous is one of my very favorite words and I hardly ever hear it from anyone else!!!
You ROCK Miss Snark!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of favorite words, I am always turned on when someone correctly uses the word MYRIAD! This has got to be one of the most-oft misused words in the English/American language: Yanno, there's such a myriad of ways in which people screw it up...(-;

Clara said...

Who made up the no querying different agents at the same agency rule? I'm glad I didn't come across it when I was looking for an agent last year... I worked my way down a list of agents at a particular agency, and the third agent I queried took me on. Perhaps I just didn't make it past the first two agents' assistants.

Anonymous said...

I just had my wrist slapped for doing this very thing! I had no idea authors are supposed to inform agents if their work has ever been declined by one of their colleagues. Despite the fact that I did after all bring this to their attention before I sent the full ms per their request, they were still ticked I didn't do it at the outset and told me to hold off. Guess my name is hanging on a dartboard in their break room now....I give up any hope for representation there. But....why didn't they list this rule on their website with other submission guidelines? Or am I the only writer who didn't think of this? Guess I was wearing my nitwit t-shirt that day. Sigh.