Ask Daphne! What if Book Two is ready?

September 29th, 2008 • Kate

Shoes that seem to say “Tell me about it, stud” for Sandy, who writes:

I have an etiquette question. A year ago, I began querying my first novel. As requests and passes were coming in and submissions were going out, I worked on my next book. It’s now complete and ready to query, but I still have two partials and a full of my first book out. I don’t really want to wait to hear back from the agents because there’s no telling how long they’ll take (two of the three are already well past their posted response times). Should I let these agents know that I’m querying another book? Should I send queries to all the agents on my list except for the ones who have the first one? Should I send the query to those three agents and mention that they still have the partial or full of my previous book? What would you prefer writers to do?

Hey Sandy. I don’t think you need to wait, necessarily, for answers back from the three agents who are looking at your first book, but if, as you say, they’ve had it for a while, now might be a good opportunity to remind them you’re waiting for an answer. A simple email along the lines of “While you’re considering Book One, a partial or full of which I sent you last year, I wanted to let you know I’ve completed revisions on another novel. I’d be happy to tell you more about it if you like. I look forward to hearing from you.”
Simple, direct, to the point. As for the other agents on your list, I’d start first with agents who said something like they would be happy to look at anything else you wrote, or who gave good comments on your first, but were general complimentary. Within that list, try to start as far back as possible — you don’t want to immediately send off a second query to someone you just rejected you last week, even if they said they’d be happy to look at something else from you. Give them a little time to forget why they rejected Book One before showing them Book Two.
At the same time, can you expand your search? Are their any agents you might have disregarded on the first go-around because of their interests or similar projects, but could send something to on Book Two? If so, you don’t have to worry about saying anything about Book One, except perhaps mentioning you are working on other projects at the same time. Good luck!

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