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Ask Daphne! What to do about #2?

Beth writes:

How soon is too soon to query an agent with a second work? I’ve got two works that I feel are ready for submission — they’ve both been edited and revised heavily (it’s not like I just banged another one out without having it critiqued — I had some life issues that made me put one manuscript on hold while I re-wrote and edited the other). I tried an agent with one, and she showed real interest but ultimately felt it wasn’t for her. How soon should I try her out with the other one?

If she showed real interest — which I’m reading as a request for the full of your first manuscript and a polite, possibly helpful rejection — then I would thank her for her time and mention that while this novel wasn’t for her, perhaps she’d like to take a look at #2? Now, you may have been lucky enough to actually get a response that said something along the lines of “I’d love to see your next work in the future.” In which case, again, feel free to respond right away that you have it ready. And I would mention in that second email that, like the first one, #2 has been workshopped and revised.
Now, say some time has passed since your last correspondence with this agent. I don’t think there’s a strict timeline for contacting her again with a second novel — but know that you’re going back into her vast submission pool, and there’s more waiting to be done in the future while she remembers book one, and finds the time to read query two.
Any time you have had a positive experience with an agent, I totally understand the drive to keep in touch, and try her with something else. The one thing I would warn against, however, is bombarding her with material. You got a request for a partial on your first submission to her, and a no on your second? And the third? Maybe it’s time to seek out other agents to try.
Oh, and do try to avoid submitting multiple manuscripts to the same agent at the same time, unless there are extraordinary circumstances. She’s reading a full of one novel, and you have an offer on #2? Then let her know. Still, that does make me wonder why you didn’t show me #2 first — I guess I want to feel that you’re showing me your best work, and the above scenario makes me think you’re saving that for someone else. Not the foot you want to start off on in a possible relationship with an agent.
Hope that helps!

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