Monday, October 18, 2021

The agent I want is closed to queries.

I am finally ready to query, only to discover that three of the agents I consider the best matches are closed to queries. If I receive requests for the full manuscript or offers from other agents can I contact these three with that news, or does closed mean closed?

Closed means closed...


UNLESS you've met these agents at a conference or heard them on a panel, and they've specifically said they are open to queries from people in the audience.


SCBWI does this a lot, but there's almost always a time constraint attached. You can query them for the next 30 days, for example.


Agents close to queries for a variety of reasons, mostly cause they're inundated and trying to tame their inbox. That means it doesn't do any good to query them when they are not looking.


HOWEVER what you think of as your best match may not be so. Query, and query widely. Young hot hungry agents may not be on your radar yet, and they're eager to build their list.

The door may be closed at 1 Buttonweezer Place, but there are a lot of other doors on the street.

Yes, there is a Buttonweezer Street in NYC. It's not on the map, sorry.


  1. There's a Liv Buttonweezer on twitter:

  2. What about if an agent announces they're closing in, say, 4 weeks? Should I query them before that window closes? Or do I have to worry that they're so inundated, my query will get less love, and I should instead wait until the agent's "hiatus" ends? I'm assuming people will say don't wait (seize the fish), but perhaps some reidsters have had greater success by waiting?

  3. C. Dan - get in while the gettin's good, I say.

  4. C. Dan - send the query I’d they’re closing soon. You have no idea when they’ll reopen. Some may close for upwards of a year.

  5. I say yes to querying widely and prospering when your work is ready.

    Some hungry young agents will bend over backwards for promising writers, while some established agents use Professional Assistants to do most of their new acquisitions.

    There is nothing wrong with using PAs, mostly, but I am leery because of my last doctor, whom I never met because she just relied on PAs. If she had introduced herself and chucked in an opinion or two, I might still be going there.

  6. I haven’t been there in a while, but that Looks like Washington street. DUMBO is pretty quirky, though. If there was a Buttonweezer street it would be there.

  7. Nothing to add to this. As others have said, keep querying other agents. And if you still haven't snagged an agent when the ones you identified initially re-open, you still have more to query. It can be a very, very long game. So long. Good luck.

  8. Opie, the other thing to remember is you don't know how long they will stay closed. Keep an eye on them because they may open at any point!

    Good luck with your time in the query trenches!

  9. I believe it's true to say that when an agent closes for queries, she knows there's a risk she'll miss out on the Next Big Thing. And that's on her, not you. One agent's loss is another's gain. That's just the way it goes. Don't hold up your career waiting for agents to be ready for you. If you're ready, query whoever will give you the time of day. That's my 2c. 😀


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