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View Full Version : Ever Queried An Agent Who Was "Closed To Subs?"



Ken
10-26-2011, 03:52 PM
... if so what were the results?

Alitriona
10-26-2011, 04:49 PM
I imagine the agent would take it as a sign of bad research, that the author is incapable of paying heed to instruction and would be difficult to work with or that they suffer golden word syndrome and think their work is so brilliant rules don't apply. All would put an agent off.

ChaosTitan
10-26-2011, 05:26 PM
No. Checking to see that an agent is closed to submissions is easy enough, so there's really no excuse.

Not an agent, but recently an editor at a small e-press blogged about an experience with a writer who queried during a closed period. It said right on their website they were closed to submissions. The editor wrote back politely, rather than just sending a form rejection, telling them they were not taking subs, and she even told the author when they'd be open again.

The "author" wrote back with some pretty nasty profanity and called the e-press's professionalism into question (yeah....um.....), for daring to not look at his submission. *eyeroll*

There is probably the occasional anecdote about someone signing with an agent they queried during a closed period, or who didn't actually accept their genre. But most agents will just form reject you when you don't follow their submission guidelines. And really, it's not that hard to do.

Christyp
10-26-2011, 05:56 PM
I'll query when the agency is closed to submissions, but only within a week of when they're reportedly opening to them again.

Phaeal
10-26-2011, 05:59 PM
According to the agency website, all its agents would accept a snail mail query. So I sent one off to the agent of my choice.

Then, double-checking on Agent Query, I noticed that my agent of choice supposedly DIDN'T take unsolicited queries. Uh oh.

Soon after, this agent requested a full. The next day, the agent offered representation.

So, yeah, this is kind of an success story for your poll. But only kind of, since the final word on what an agency will take is the agency's website, not a third party site. Even so, if I'd double-checked AQ first, I might still be querying. ;)

DeadlyAccurate
10-26-2011, 06:01 PM
Yes, though it wasn't indicated anywhere online that he was closed to subs (and in fact, Agent Query said he was open), and the only reason I found out was one of his clients came here and said so. Even with her recommending me, I never heard anything, though.

Alpha Echo
10-26-2011, 06:06 PM
No. Checking to see that an agent is closed to submissions is easy enough, so there's really no excuse.



This. I never even considered it. The publishing business is pretty strict. Writers that don't do the correct research aren't going to be taken seriously. I would, if I were an agent not currently accepting submissions, immediately toss any submission into the trash.

Any writer not disciplined enough to do the research - or if that writer does do the research but ignores the agents' guidelines - doesn't deserve a chance to be published. IMO.

Alpha Echo
10-26-2011, 06:08 PM
According to the agency website, all its agents would accept a snail mail query. So I sent one off to the agent of my choice.

Then, double-checking on Agent Query, I noticed that my agent of choice supposedly DIDN'T take unsolicited queries. Uh oh.

Soon after, this agent requested a full. The next day, the agent offered representation.

So, yeah, this is kind of an success story for your poll. But only kind of, since the final word on what an agency will take is the agency's website, not a third party site. Even so, if I'd double-checked AQ first, I might still be querying. ;)

These are exceptions, I think.

I always double-check before submitting though. I'll check AgentQuery.com, then I go the agent's website and check there. Sometimes, if there's a blog, I check there too. They're constantly changing their guidelines, and I don't want them to toss my work aside because I missed one.

Ken
10-26-2011, 06:19 PM
... have also noticed discrepancies between AgentQuery and agency websites, Phaeal. Glad to hear of the cool outcome.

I queried two agents in the past who were closed to submissions. One rejected and the other requested, but ultimately passed. My excuse is that both agents seemed like amazing fits. They handled my genre along with another I'd like to get into. They handled several books I love. And they worked with publishers I adore. So I figured it was worth a try. The agents were seasoned and not likely to open up to submissions any time soon, if ever.

In general, it's always good to follow what agents say and heed their guidelines, as mentioned above. Otherwise you're starting out with a strike or two against you.

Drachen Jager
10-26-2011, 08:19 PM
You forgot in your poll. "An auto-reply e-mail, saying the agent is closed."

That's what I got.

The problem is so many agents have their information in a half-dozen places and they often don't update all of them. That's what happened to me anyhow.

SJAB
10-26-2011, 08:30 PM
No, I never did and I know my agent will send any submissions received outside of his stated submission period right to the recycle bin. Be they a week, or even a couple of days before he opens or after he is closed.

Jamesaritchie
10-26-2011, 08:31 PM
Why would anyone do this? Agents do not say they're closed to submissions except for those writers who think this doesn't mean them. Closed means closed, and there's always a reason for it.

Soccer Mom
10-26-2011, 08:37 PM
No, I'm not into wasting my time. Querying is hard enough with out ticking off agents in the process.

happywritermom
10-26-2011, 09:02 PM
Yes! And with wonderful luck. It was in 2009 and the agent I most wanted to submit to had been closed to submissions since 2003. I called his office and spoke to his assistant, just asking when or whether he might re-open. She asked what the novel was about, talked to him and he requested the first 100 pages. I was, however, younger and much more stupid. I signed with another agent before I heard back from him.
I have recently started querying again with a different novel after terminating with my agent. That particular agent is with a different agency now, one of the biggies, and I never thought he'd remember me. He did. He declined to even see material for the second novel (not really his thing), but he said he'd be very interested in a rewrite of the first.
I haven't decided what to do yet. I really want an agent who is interested in all my work, not just select titles. But he's really good and it's tempting.
It never hurts to ask.

Shadow_Ferret
10-26-2011, 09:13 PM
You missed a response for the poll: No. Why would I waste my time and theirs?

Jamesaritchie
10-26-2011, 11:48 PM
It never hurts to ask.

No, it never hurts to ask, but it can hurt like hell to actually query without asking.

Perks
10-26-2011, 11:54 PM
Yeah, I'm with the "What's the point unless you're looking to annoy someone?" crowd.

DeleyanLee
10-26-2011, 11:56 PM
I did once, because I was referred by an existing client of his. My friend had talked up the book she'd beta'd for me and he said I could sent it in when it was done. From the query, he requested a full, but in the end, we didn't mesh.

MartinD
10-27-2011, 03:56 AM
Yes, inadvertantly. I didn't realize the agency had closed to submissions and went blindly ahead.

Received a positive response and the agent asked to see a full.

seun
10-27-2011, 11:46 AM
Sort of. Subbed to an agency who turned out to be closed. If their website had said so, I wouldn't have wasted my time.

blacbird
10-27-2011, 12:16 PM
Can't answer. I have queried a few who turned out to be closed to submissions (their rejections said so), even though any researchable information didn't indicate such.

As far as I'm able to determine, all agents are closed to my submissions.

caw

aruna
10-27-2011, 02:02 PM
Since the poll question was "Ever queried an agent....?" one of the poll options should have been "No."

I think that answer would have led the poll.

Since that answer was not included the present leading option, "Request for material", is misleading (no pun intended).

shaldna
10-27-2011, 04:44 PM
That particular agent is with a different agency now, one of the biggies, and I never thought he'd remember me. He did. He declined to even see material for the second novel (not really his thing), but he said he'd be very interested in a rewrite of the first.
I haven't decided what to do yet. I really want an agent who is interested in all my work, not just select titles. But he's really good and it's tempting.
It never hurts to ask.


I would rewrite the book and send it to him.

Agents are pretty selective, just as editors are, and they knew what they can and can't sell, and they may not take on all of the books you write. If he's a good agent and he's interested then I would for sure send it to him.

happywritermom
10-27-2011, 05:22 PM
Thanks Shaldna. I'm just really torn as to what direction to take it in. It's historical courtroom drama with a literary edge. My previous agent subbed it to a few of the big houses (That was about it in two years time!) and we got positive responses from most of the editors. They ultimately passed though, saying it was "too quiet." So part of me thinks I need to charge it up with a little more suspense and mystery. Another part of me thinks I should leave it as is and submit to the indies, where "quiet" isn't such a bad word.

Miss Plum
10-28-2011, 01:03 AM
Back in my querying daze, if the agent's own website said they were closed I didn't query. BUT ----

Definitely do not believe everything on sites like QueryTracker. They're good sites, the owners do their best to stay current, but short of calling up every editor and agent in town they can't get everything right.

I queried a big fish who didn't have a website (!) and whose QueryTracker page said he didn't take submissions. Well, he took mine out of the slush pile and offered me rep.

Chris P
10-28-2011, 01:09 AM
I think the question-behind-the-question is "Does querying a closed agent ever work?" As many have said, sometimes it does. But I'm not counting on it and letting "no" mean "no."

Chumplet
11-11-2011, 05:18 AM
Mine was quite by accident. After a lot of back and forth on Twitter, I casually asked when she'd be open to queries again, and she said to just send it. A couple of rewrites later, she still has the full but I'm not holding out much hope. It's been a year. We still tweet. I'm considering whether to just tell her to say no, so I don't feel like I've been a pest.

Ken
11-11-2011, 03:27 PM
Mine was quite by accident. After a lot of back and forth on Twitter, I casually asked when she'd be open to queries again, and she said to just send it. A couple of rewrites later, she still has the full but I'm not holding out much hope. It's been a year. We still tweet. I'm considering whether to just tell her to say no, so I don't feel like I've been a pest.

... can relate. I hate waiting beyond a certain point. You might as well continue to, though. What have you got to lose? Definitely continue to sub elsewhere in the meantime. Maybe let her know you're going to do that. It might encourage her to make a decision. G'luck.

Rhoda Nightingale
11-12-2011, 01:01 AM
I did this once, also by accident. Apparently she was "away" for a while and I, being a silly person, didn't triple-check in a timely enough fashion to get that. My query got bounced back with a note saying, "Sorry, I'm not at home, try again later," which I took as a form rejection. (She later ended up rejecting it properly.)

AlishaS
11-12-2011, 02:12 AM
I did once not realizing, and well I got no response, and didn't expect anything less.

KTC
11-12-2011, 07:52 AM
I took a chance on one. Her response was:






"Dear Kevin,

I have tried, twice, to send you my standard reply, which is that I'm not accepting new clients or submissions at the moment. Both times, I've reread your pitch and decided not to say that. So I think that must mean I'd love to see it, if you would forward a manuscript (email is fine) by return email. You've got me hooked!"

leahzero
11-13-2011, 12:40 AM
I think the question-behind-the-question is "Does querying a closed agent ever work?" As many have said, sometimes it does. But I'm not counting on it and letting "no" mean "no."

This says it all, really.

The question you should be asking yourself is: do you want to potentially annoy/enrage an agent you're interested in by willfully ignoring their submission rules, on the off chance that you'll be one of those rare lucky people who happens to have the right manuscript at the right time and catches the agent at just the right moment?

Querying is already a crapshoot. Giving yourself an unnecessary handicap doesn't seem like a good usage of your time or energy.

At most I'd contact the agent and politely ask when/if they'll reopen to queries, without coming on too strong with a pitch.