After submitting your query and getting a few rounds of rejections, you may revise your work. It’s probably tempting to resubmit that query to agents who saw it and passed on it.
My immediate recommendation: don’t.
Some agents are fine with resubmissions. I’ll take a second look at a query and sample I have already passed on. A few times, I have read full manuscripts after I have rejected a query/manuscript in the past. I have never signed a resubmission.
The thing is, if I pass, it’s because I don’t think it’s something I can work with. I often pass because I’m not interested in the subject or because the voice isn’t working for me. The first issue is impossible to fix – if I’m not interested in the plot/subject/etc., a revision isn’t going to change that. The second isn’t impossible, but it’s difficult. An author’s voice is their voice, and sometimes I just don’t connect with it. That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with the writing. The project just isn’t right for me.
There are many instances where I think a project is interesting and I like the voice, but there are fixable issues that mean I’m not ready to sign but am willing to see the project again. In these cases, I specify in my rejection that I’m happy to take another look upon extensive revisions.
My reason for saying not to resubmit (unless an agent asked to see it again!) is because there are tons more agents you can query who haven’t already passed. These agents don’t have the initial wariness while reading, because they’ve never seen the project before.
If you do resubmit, you have to tell an agent that it’s a resubmission. This is going to make me immediately hesitant, because I know I’ve already passed on the project. Again, you don’t get this hesitation with agents who have never rejected the project.
Also keep in mind that, if you are resubmitting, the revisions have to be beyond extensive. The project has to be vastly improved. I recommend taking at least a full year before you consider resubmitting. You should set the manuscript aside for a few months and then look at it with fresh eyes. I also recommend writing groups and critique partners to help with revisions.
You should definitely check and see if an agent even accepts resubmissions. Many do not. I do, and I always consider the projects that are resent, but I go into them thinking that there was a reason I passed in the first place, and it is unlikely that reason has changed.
I’m not saying you absolutely can’t resubmit. Err on the side of caution. Keep in mind you might be starting from a hard place because the agent has already passed before, and you might have a better chance with an agent who has never seen the project before.
I realize this sounds very negative, but I promise I’m not meaning it to be! For every agent who passed, there are plenty more who haven’t. Your post-revision list should include these agents. It may make a huge difference!
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