Ask Daphne! Does no really mean no?

August 25th, 2008 • Kate

No real reason for these shoes today, except they remind me of a pair I saw this weekend that made me swoon. Moving on! Scott asks:

Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, that somebody queried you and you were interested enough to request a partial, but ultimately rejected the manuscript. Does “no” mean “no for ever and ever,” or can a major rewrite pique your interest again after some reasonable amount of time has passed? If, say, you reject with a brief comment about characterization or a slow beginning or something like that, could a rewrite convince you to take another look, even if you didn’t suggest querying a second time after changes have been made?
And let’s say, again hypothetically because I haven’t seen your answer to that first set of questions, that you are open to requeries. Should a second query mention that it’s a requery and then go on as if it were a first query? Would a brief statement about the types of changes that were made be helpful (as part of a professionally crafted query, of course, because writers should realize you get so many queries and partials that the chances of any writer’s rejected work being special enough to be remembered for months or years are pretty much zero)?
Or is no no, meaning requeries on a rejected project are pretty much a waste of your time and ours?

One of those long questions, short answers again: Yes, no means no.
(But here’s where I throw in a little hopeful optimism) Unless, of course, I’ve ASKED for a revision. You mention a comment on the rejection about a specific part of the story. There are times when I might make that comment and add something along the lines of “if you were interested on working on this, I’d be happy to take another look in the future.” Now, if I say that, you should definitely requery, and in which case, the requery should indeed mention that fact. I wouldn’t necessarily restate the entire first query, but do be sure to mention I liked this enough on the first go around to request a partial, and that I suggested changes and welcomed a resubmission. You needn’t include a detailed, multi-page outline of the changes undertaken, but I would try to mention some of the main points, if possible.
I have, in the past, accepted resubmissions that I hadn’t asked for, but it would need to be some pretty spectacular changes to make me change my mind. That hasn’t happened yet.

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One Response to “Ask Daphne! Does no really mean no?”

  1. jeanoram Says:

    Good question, Scott! Thanks for asking it on behalf of all us wonderers.