Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why Do Agents Close To Submissions?

The family was sitting around the dinner table last night and my father-in-law asked about how submissions were going this summer. I told him that I had closed to submissions and he looked shocked. Why would we want to do this?

Agents close submissions for several reasons. In some cases, they simply have all of the clients they can handle at that moment. In many cases, that might be somewhere around 25-30 clients. They simply cannot give the attention to all of their writers by taking on anyone new.

In my case this summer, I closed to give some more attention to my own writers. I had a ton of work coming in from my clients that needed that extra time that reading submissions would have taken away from.

And yes, we do close to give ourselves a well-needed vacation. If you think about it, agents are pretty much available 24/7. Add in the expectation that many writers have of logging onto the computer first thing in the morning to read what the agent has posted on their blog, the comments on social media, the critiques and the contests we assist with really puts a strain on the family life.

Also, think about those conferences we attend. Don't get me wrong, we love attending these and finding great new authors. But...those conferences become a 7 day work week and then generally a week of playing catch up.

Now don't take this the wrong way. I am not looking for sympathy. I love what I do. Sometimes it's just good to have a little bit of a reality check and let you know what we're doing or what we're thinking.



  1. This makes perfect sense to me. I'd much rather an agent closed to submissions that that my query sat unread for months while said agent tried to catch up.

  2. I'm impressed by agents who close periodically to refresh and come back eager. We writers do it, otherwise we'd all be drones.

    What I'm equally impressed with is your obvious respect for your father-in-law and how you weigh his opinions. You're a class act, Scott.

  3. In the long run, I'd rather have an agent be closed to submissions than waste my time by having me submit a query (and wait for a response) that has no chance. And if I were already a client, I'd be glad my agent was taking the time to focus more on my career, or to refresh so they could focus better on it later. You're doing us a favor, too!

  4. Great thoughts, Scott. Thanks for sharing!

    --Sarah Joy, an associate agent in training. :)

  5. Respect, Scott, and to every other agent that takes time off. I want my agent fresh and rested for the coming challenges; I do NOT want my agent burned out from working too hard. Everyone deserves a vacation. Can you miss out on great opportunities and projects? I'm sure it's happened. Is it worth it? I would undoubtedly say YES.