A New Year’s Resolution – Public Service Announcement

The new year has brought in a boat load of new queries. Yay. The new year has brought in a boat load of fiction queries. Not so yay.

Many writers find agents and publishers from online databases that collect publishers and/or agents. They usually list what the agent or publishing house is looking for. Here’s the problem. Those databases are rarely updated, so it’s not unusual to discover that the agent you were planning to query is no longer at that literary agency. Or the publishing house has changed the genres they publish.

Such is our case. We’ve been knocking around for quite a few years and our lineup has undergone some refinement – meaning that we don’t accept fiction anymore. When I see an influx of fiction queries, I can only deduce writers are using those online sites and not going to the agents’/editors’ websites.

Case in point:  An agent friend of mine isn’t accepting new queries right now, and has this prominently displayed on her bio of the agency website. Yet she is still receiving a flood of queries. I happened to stumble across a popular literary agent database and noticed that it states she is actively seeking new authors. Mystery solved.

Normally I just delete the fiction queries, but I sent a rejection letter to one writer stating that we haven’t published fiction in a long time. Not only was he angry at having wasted his time querying me, but he got quite huffy that the database where he found our company was obviously out of date.


Yes, these sites are out of date, so do yourself a huge favor and make a New Year’s resolution to not rely solely on some database. Instead, work smart by going to the websites of those you want to query and find out as much about them as you can. This is how you determine whether that editor or agent is a good fit for your book.

As for my angry querying writer, the beagle dispatched her roving band of chain-gang Dobermans to suggest the writer undergo an attitude adjustment.

One Response to A New Year’s Resolution – Public Service Announcement

  1. tbrosz says:

    “Check the website FIRST” should be on a Post-It mounted on all of our computer screens.

    I’m updating the agency chart I made on my last submission go-around, and it’s amazing how many changes there have been in just a few years. New agents at the agencies, old ones gone. Almost everyone is e-mail only now, including several that wouldn’t touch e-mail with a ten-foot-pole last time around. There are a lot more agencies where you simply submit a query right at the website. Agents who hated certain genres last time love them now, and vice versa. A few agencies on my list had folded. Addresses changed.

    At least three-quarters of my information was obsolete. Again, this information was only two or three years old. Small wonder some agent resource sites can’t keep up.

    Heck, it’s probably worth while to drop in on the Behler Publications site every couple of months. Who knows…someday they might get a hankering for fiction again!

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