Time Frame for Resending a Query to an Agent: Magic Bullet Q&A for Writers

Q: What is the time frame for resending a query to an
agent and should I requery? (I have received many, many replies
to my queries that simply state the agent or agency is too overloaded
and cannot handle any new projects.) Thank you.
—Paul Cronin

A: The unfortunate answer is: You should not re-query. Good agencies
do not become less busy over time, and unless they suddenly acquire
extra help or junior agents, your query will not be addressed whether
you send it 3 months or 12 months from now. It sounds as if the
agencies you're approaching are either closed to new clients or
accept new clients only through referrals. Such a policy may not
be explicitly stated in their guidelines or on their Web site, but
that's really the attitude presented in the letters you're receiving.
If they were accepting new clients, one would hope they'd at least
have the courtesy of informing you that your book doesn't sound
right for them.

Sometimes agencies use this “we're too busy” rejection
whenever they receive an uncommon barrage of queries—such
as when their agency is highlighted in Writer's Digest
magazine or in a MediaBistro
interview. I also hear that agents receive more queries in August/September
because that's when the new edition of Guide to Literary Agents
hits the shelves.

So, if you received a rejection based on your query alone, it doesn't
make much sense to re-query the exact same agency unless you think
it's due to one of these unusual scenarios.

I recommend you keep a close watch on such agencies, and see if
anyone new joins who might have the time to review your query. Otherwise,
you need to find another way in the door, preferably through a referral
from an existing client.

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