When Is It OK to Phone An Agency?

The prepublished shake in their boots when approaching the agent-shopping phase of writing. Even published writers agonize sometimes over whether or not to call their literary agent on the phone. A reader asks, “When is it OK to phone an agency?”
Writing Tip for Today: Most agent listings or websites say “No phone calls please.” Yet writers are also told to direct queries to a certain agent rather than a blanket request. In my little opinion, there are certain circumstances where phone calls to literary agents do and don’t make sense:

  • DO call to find out if the agent you want to query still works there. If you’re unsure and can’t ascertain where the agent is from trade newsletters or market listings, it’s OK to phone the agency. Most will have a front desk to answer questions such as these.
  • DON’T call to find out if they’ve received your query. Or how they like your writing. Or anything personal if you haven’t signed with that agent.
  • DO phone if you have urgent questions to ask an agent who represents you. Note the word “urgent.” If you email your agent and get no answer within 48 hours, and you really really really need to know something, by all means phone.
  • DON’T call your agent daily to ask about whether or not anyone has made an offer on your book.
  • DO be professional when you speak to an agency–you’ll be classified as a pest if you don’t observe professional etiquette.
  • DON’T, if you live on the West coast, call New York during lunch time. Remember and respect the time difference. It’s not convenient, but for us westerners, phone chats with our New York agents will likely need to happen in the early morning hours.

Second Announcement: The recipients of of books from last week’s giveaways are Guyanne (People of the Book), Kristen (Throw the Devil Off the Train), and Katherine Hyde (When Sparrows Fall). I still need to hear from some of you so I can get your books on their way to you. Email me at: Lindas352 at comcast dot net. Thanks and Congrats!

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

1 comment on “When Is It OK to Phone An Agency?

  1. Thanks for this. It seems that most advice is about not doing something EVER!!! which is not really advice. I like the way you talk about the exceptions.

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