Literary Manager Audrey Knox: Why I Rejected a "Strongly Consider" Writer

Guest Post: Why I Rejected a "Strongly Consider" Writer by Literary Manager Audrey Knox

Read on for a cautionary tale about what not to do when following up.


This post was originally published on Audrey Knox's Substack on March 1, 2024. You can subscribe to her free newsletter HERE. Audrey Knox is a literary manager at The Cartel and regularly works with Roadmap Writers, covering a number of often sold-out offerings. 

In early December of last year, I received a query from a writer.

I agreed to read their script. As I usually do with unsolicited queries, I forwarded that script to our intern coordinator. The reason I have interns read a script before I do is because I am very busy, and I am submitted way too many scripts from too many hopeful potential clients.

If I read them all, I would literally never have time to do anything else (like help the clients I currently represent get jobs!)

Because it was the end of the semester, we didn't have interns.

Source: WeScreenplay

                                                                             Source: WeScreenplay

As things tend to do around the holidays, scripts and emails piled up. I knew we would get to everything eventually at the beginning of the year, but of course there would be a backlog for the first month or so. Throughout January I was able to chip through my giant stacks of scripts and emails.

Anyway, back to December…

The day after I agreed to read this writer's script, they sent me information about another script they also had that they were taking out.

Mistake #1: Following up with more material before getting a response on your first submission.


Once someone tells you that they are excited to read your script, be patient. Now is not the time to ask them to do even more for you.

As hard as it is, it's best to just sit tight.

Two weeks after this writer had sent me their feature script, they followed up again with updates about that second feature script, and asked if they could send it to me.

If you have been following my content for a while now, hopefully you can identify the next two big mistakes they made.

Mistake #2: Following up too soon.

If you have submitted a feature script to someone, give them at least a month or two to read it.

Managers are quite busy.

Were you able to spot Mistake #3? If not, here's a hint: what date was this person following up?

Mistake #3: Reaching out during the holidays.

Hollywood operates on a predicable season of workload ebbs and flows.

This industry completely shuts down for the weeks of Christmas to the new year. During the days leading up to that holiday break, no one is reading unsolicited submissions. We are buttoning up any urgent business that needs to be concluded before the end of the year.

The writer who followed up with me 6 days before Christmas was ignored.

They then followed up with me about both of their scripts on January 4th.

When they heard nothing, they proceeded to follow up with me 3 separate times over the course of January.

This included an email on a separate thread with no context.

Mistake #4: Following up in an email thread not attached to your original message.

Keep all your communication on the same thread.

Instead of doing that, this writer sent an email at the top of February asking me if I was passing on their script (again, in a separate email thread). They told me that I was the only rep that they were currently out to and that they wouldn't be querying any more reps until they closed the loop with me.

Mistake #5: Making exclusive submissions to agents or managers.

There is no reason to query one rep at a time.

If you're ready for an agent or manager, you should absolutely be emailing multiple people. This is normal in the industry and no manager would take offense to it.

I felt bad that this writer had been waiting on me for so long. Additionally, their overbearing and poorly timed follow up gave me the impression that they were too green for what I am looking for in a client right now.

So, I told them that it was, in fact, a pass.

This was exactly 2 months after they reached out to me initially (a very normal time frame in this industry for considering a feature script from a potential client).

10 days after I passed on that writer, I finally received coverage on their script from our intern. It was a glowing review of that first script they had sent over.

Had the writer just waited, I would have eventually read their script and potentially continued the conversation. But they had been too pushy. They demonstrated to me that they didn't understand how this industry works, they didn't have patience, and they didn't respect my time.

So now I am not reading their script. I have already passed on it.

Don't shoot yourself in the foot during your querying efforts. Take the time to learn about how this business works. It's important to know what attracts a manager, but it’s just as important to know what will turn them off.

Don't allow your impatience to get in the way of your own success.

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