What to do when an Agent says No


Attention Writers! I am interrupting this blog for an important public service announcement.

Believe me, I am passionate about my writing. And the search for an agent can be horribly frustrating. But it is NEVER EVER acceptable to hunt down a rejecting agent or thrash the crap out of them.

For those of you who didn’t check out Twitter this weekend, I’m not being hypothetical here. I can’t make this stuff up. Well, I could, but I didn’t.

According to reports, on Thursday, September 13, 2012, a literary agent  was attacked by a disgruntled author. Fortunately for her, her Jack Russell terrier bit the guy and she was able to get away. Yay Jackie! The Huffington Post has an article about the incident here, but the agent wants to put this behind her. Check out her blog.

Twitter was alight with outraged reactions to this senseless act of violence, and advice for the careful agent. It seems to me authors need a little reminder, too. So here are some dos and don’ts when you’re rejected by an agent. And if you query 10 agents, your odds are pretty good that you WILL get rejected by someone. Get over it.


  1. Commiserate with your girlfriends/boyfriends/family members/pets.
  2. Partake in your favorite beverage.
  3. Review your query and/or manuscript for possible flaws.
  4. Query other agents using their posted guidelines.
  5. Repeat as necessary.


  1. Write a caustic rejoinder pointing out the agent’s huge blunder in not representing you and your manuscript. Do you really think that will make them see the error of their ways? Like they’ll have a sudden epiphany that sends them rushing to their email to dash off a letter of apology and an offer? Has that tactic worked for anyone? Ever?
  2. Stalk agents in any way, shape, or form. Stalking in the context of any relationship is just a bad idea—plain and simple. That’s why there are laws against it in jurisdictions all across the U.S.
  3. Commit any violence or threaten violence. Gads, I can’t believe I even have to write this as a reminder.

Folks, the Author/Agent relationship is a partnership. And like all partnerships, there are a number of factors that go into a good match. You may have a great book, but you haven’t found the right agent. Or you may need to work on your own stuff before finding the right guy/girl. And you want a good match because you want a partner who is just as passionate about your work as you are. After all, that agent has to go out and pitch your book to publishers. And they get nos, too.

Be nice and stay safe!

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One Response to What to do when an Agent says No

  1. Winter BelViso says:

    Yes, often it is important to note that certain behaviors are not only illegal, but SCARY as well.

    More often than not, medication might be in order as well.

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