Friday, June 8, 2012

Why Do Agents Close Their Doors To Submissions

You simply think it isn't fair. The moment you are ready to submit a project to your dream agent, you suddenly find out that he or she is closed to submissions. Arrrgggghhhhhh! Don't those agents know they are passing up some of the best dang writing out there? Well, yes, we do know that might happen, but there really are reasons for agents closing their doors.

In some cases, the decision is a personal one. Family matters are taking a priority for that agent. No, this doesn't mean they are stopping their work as an agent. They are continuing with their current clients, probably judging contests and yes, they may even attend conferences. But, the search for new authors just was taking up a lot of time that could be better used somewhere else.

Agents, may also close the doors simply because they have reached a cap on the number of clients they represent. You have to remember that if you are a client of an agent, you want time devoted to your projects. You want attention and yes, you deserve it. But, as the number of clients goes up, the time we can spend with each client goes down.

If you do have an agent working with a larger agency and there are several people working in the same office, they may be able to pass around the work to other people. This gives the image that "the agency" represents a lot of people, but, in reality, each agent probably still works with a limited group.

Agents may also close simply because they feel the writing just isn't working for them right now. In other words, it becomes a mental break from the grind of the business. By taking this approach, when the agent does open the doors to new submissions again, they are refreshed and ready for new projects.

But how will this affect your writing and career? Well, you can take one of several approaches:
1) Many agents will still look at writing if it comes through a contest, or if they meet with you at a conference. If you want to work with someone who is closed to submissions, this might be the approach to take.
2) Some agents use the "no unsolicited manuscripts." In this case, you would again want to meet up with them at a conference, or maybe find someone who can refer you to that person.
3) Wait until they open again. In many cases, the agents will tell you how long they will be closed. Hold on until they open and then submit. Who know? You might end up with something stronger to send to them.
4) Try another agent. No, don't just grab any agent out there. Stick to your list of preferred agents.
5) Or you can always try to do this on your own. This business doesn't require an agent. But, with that said, you personally my need one. Still, this is an option.

Have a great weekend!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the insight, especially about how agents may still accept MS via conferences. Also for your caution to stick with preferred agents.

    Have you always had a comment box? I've wanted to comment before, but didn't see a place to comment.