Time Frame for Resending a Query to an Agent

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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