The random number generator has spoken and the TWO winners who will get their queries critiqued are:
Woohoo!! *tosses confetti* Congratulations to you both. Please email me your queries at sarablarson21 (at) gmail (dot) com and I will get that done for you.
You guys had some really great questions, so I will be taking a few at a time in the next couple of posts to answer them. Thanks again for entering everyone!
D.L. Hammons asked: Here's my question. How much do you go into possible revisions the agent my want before signing on the dotted line? What if they don't want to go into detail? I hope I'm reading this question right, but it sounds like you're asking how much should you do for an agent if they want revisions before signing you, right? Since I'm not sure, I will try to answer it both ways. First, if an agent asks for a revision before signing you (which I had happen and did--even though it didn't work out, my manuscript was much stronger for it), I think 9.7/10 times you do it. That is a huge opportunity, and at the very least you can try what they suggest and see what you think. They know what they're doing, and often end up being right when they ask for changes. Not 100% of the time, but close. ;) If you are on a phone call with an offering agent, and they won't go into detail about what revisions they want (which I doubt would happen, but it's possible!), I'd ask them detailed questions to try and get an answer. I wouldn't want to sign with an agent who isn't up front about their feelings and thoughts on my book. If they are vague in answering, saying something like "We can discuss that more later," I would respond with, "Can you give me some specific examples now of what you want changed?" I doubt any agent would dodge the question again.
Pensees asked: Should you mention that you sent a query a year (or more ago) when re-querying after making substantial edits? Or just forget about ever querying that project to that agent again? Hmm, this is tricky ground for sure. Technically, you aren't supposed to requery the same project again to the same agent. If you have a new project, I'd go with that and keep the other project for after you sign with an agent. However, I have had people tell me different answers to this. I'm pretty sure I remember some authors admitting to changing the titles and requerying projects on their blogs. If the project is substantially changed (including the title), and the agent gave you a form rejection I've had a few people say that is probably okay to requery, and not worry about mentioning the past. However, if the agent had requested a partial or full that is another story. Again, if you have a different project ready to query, go with the new project. It's probably better anyway, honestly. That's just how it goes, we tend to get better with practice. However, if the revised mss is your only shot, you could try querying those agents again and let them know you had the opportunity to have "so and so" (hopefully someone reputable in the industry) give you feedback and you did a complete revision or rewrite based on their critique and wonder if the agent would be interested in seeing your revised manuscript. (And of course you would do that in a way that is eloquent and not a run-on sentence.) The worst that can happen is they say no or don't respond. Just be very careful and wise in making a decision like that. Research the agent, see what other people's experiences have been. I know it's been done on occassion, and even more rarely has been successful, but yeah, not very often.
Wow, I'm really nervous to answer some of these questions! I hope this is helpful, but I would definitely recommend researching these things out for yourself, too. Don't take my opinions as the end all--I have a lot of experience with querying, but yours will be different and unique. Ultimately, you need to research the agents you are querying in multiple ways--on their agency blogs/websites, on forums like AbsoluteWrite, etc. and find out what their personal likes/dislikes and policies. Good luck and more to come next week!