The Psychology of Submission Timing

Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

Recently I found myself explaining to a client that I am in a bit of a press to get submissions out. “I feel like I only have six good weeks until every publisher sort of mentally shuts down for summer.”

That’s not literally true, nor is it true for every publisher but there are rhythms to the publishing year.dreamstime_xs_23561126

In CBA publishing, our trade show, ICRS, officially opens on June 23rd this year. Most of the publishers and editors we work with gather for this event. We attend as well, fitting in as many meetings as we can manage to cram into the partial week. We prepare long and hard for ICRS so that we can present fabulous projects to the editors. We know, however, that once ICRS is over, rotating editor and publishing professional vacations begin. Summer seems to be a tough time for publishers to pull together enough people for editorial committees or publishing committees. So we surmise that anything not out in May might as well wait until late August so it can be on editorial desks for the all-important September fresh start.

We spend way too much time strategizing about how best to submit to editors on behalf of our clients. Should we be careful not to inundate an editor with too many submissions in too short a time? Do we avoid sending key submissions on Monday when there may be an overwhelm already? Is Friday late morning a good time since there is a kind of euphoria and clean-desk-attitude that takes over? When are we least likely to get a knee-jerk no?

As I go through my mental gymnastics trying to psych out the best time to submit any given proposal, I wonder. . . do writers do the same thing when it comes to querying and submitting to agents? I figured the easiest way to find out is just to ask. Here’s what I’d like to know:

  1. Do you think a lot about the timing of your submission?
  2. Just as we guess about the right time to catch the interest of an editor, what would be your best guess as to the prime time to submit to an agent?
  3. When would it be the worst time?
  4. Do you feel you can wait too long to send a requested proposal?
  5. Can you send requested material too soon after the request? Look too eager?
  6. If you’ve had success with a submission to an editor or an agent do you think there could have been perfect timing issues at work?
  7. Do you think we are over thinking all this?

So pick a question or two and chime in. Let’s discuss this. I’m curious to hear your take on it. (I may not respond before afternoon since I have meetings in the morning.)


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92 Responses

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  1. Anne Love says:

    I once waited four months after ACFW in September to send a requested submission to an editor. I felt later that it was probably not the greatest rhythm for the publishing world, but it was the right rhythm for my writing journey at the time. However, I did pay much more attention three years later when asked for a submission and I thank B & S for a timely thoughtful reply. But when the second request that last year from another person was met with no reply even after another email, I did do some mental gymnastics over that. I wouldn’t have cared if I’d just gotten a “no thank you”. Mainly because looking forward, how much weight do you put into someone’s words of request if you hear nothing back? And now if we meet again this year, it sort of hangs in the back of your mind. Then you sort of wax and wane back to—but if the Lord wills it, then who am I to continually do mental gymnastics? And some WIP’s and MS’s just need to RIP (rest in peace) because it’s time to move forward. πŸ™‚

  2. COLUMBA KNOX says:

    Howdy, Ma’aM,

    Initially —
    Writers Own Stopwatches………

    Nextly —
    That aint a guess………

    3rdly —
    During an Act—Of—GOD, happening.

    4thly —
    A new Heaven………

    5thly —
    A total eclipse of the sun;
    Sumatra declared at a news website;
    Coloradoette having a better way adding thoughts at her blog;
    when the above has happened,
    that would be the time sending the request to the Agent………

    6thly —
    Creator Is Perfect………

    7thly —
    Shot Of Whisky………

    Sincerely, Indeed,

  3. Christine Dorman says:

    I definitely think and worry a great deal about the timing of my query reaching agents. According to articles I’ve read, summer is a bad time. November to January’s a bad time. Then there are the times that I know exist but can’t really “time.” For example, I worry about my query when she is really busy (is there ever a time when she’s not?), really stressed, and when she’s having a rotten day and needs to attend to three thousand things before she leaves tomorrow for a conference. Plus, she has just come down with a cold. Of course that worry is a reflection of my tendency to believe that I have a day late and a dollar short kind of luck. My greatest fear–and a more realistic one, however, is that my query will arrive on the desk of an agent who might have loved my book but who has just signed a client with a concept that is too close to mine. That would be my worse case scenario example because in the first (extreme) example of timing, my story summary might actually make her day a little better. In the second example, no matter how much she might like the idea or my character, there is no chance she would sign a writer whose book would be competition for an already-represented client. Since I have no control over either situation (or the myriad other examples of bad timing that even my active worry-wart mind can’t imagine), the only thing I can do is turn the timing aspect over to God. Despite my pessimistic attitude towards “luck,” I know that God always takes care of me, and if He wants this book published, things will work out as they should when they should.

    The challenge is: remembering to let Him worry about it.

    • Of course, there’s always the possibility of running across an iconoclastic agent who’s also read that summer is a bad time…and looks to summer as the season in which she’ll scoop up manuscripts that others pass over on their way to the beach.

      What you said about concept conflict brings something to mind – that there are so many factors involving timing, many of which we can’t possibly know, that trying to divine a ‘meaning’ beyond “don’t expect an answer on Christmas Day” is really closer to superstition than it is to a reasoned process.

      The best path might be what Jim said below – “a stamp and a prayer”.

      • Christine Dorman says:

        The iconclastic agent who reads during the summer, hmm…interesting and encouraging thought, Andrew. πŸ™‚

      • Wendy Lawton says:

        And the truth is, all of those things– summer, November, etc.– wouldn’t hold true except in a few cases.

    • Jenny Leo says:

      Been there with the “we just signed a similar novel” rejection. And yet there seem to be endless takes and variations in certain genres/time periods (never seems to be “too much” Old West or Amish, for example), so I suspect they were just trying to be kind.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      You described it perfectly. Short of stalking– you, agents; me, editors– we just need to trust God for the outcome, right?

      • Katie Robles says:

        I’ve actually been toying with that very idea, Andrew! Who better to teach the world to survive than a (mostly) self-sufficient tightly knit community? Can you imagine the bishops’ debates about new ordnung gas mask regulations?
        I need to read Amish vampires as well.

  4. Timing may work in business like in parenting. My girls know the best time to request favors and when I’m too tired to hear the query. If they want to go out for lunch, the best time to ask is when I’m hungry. They know me well.

    Do our part … the best research possible … and pray for God’s perfect timing.

  5. Andrea Nell says:

    Hi Wendy. Great post. It’s nice to know we hopefuls have some of the same struggles as agents. Timing is always a factor when I consider sending a submission. I’m usually weighing whether to wait until my once a year shot to pitch at ACFW or send cold when I know I’ll have to beat the slush pile and risk rejection that could close the door for a future pitching opportunity.
    Thanks again for this great blog! Have a happy Tuesday!

    • Andrea, you’ve done us a favor to point out that it’s not only timing – it’s ‘type’.

      A verbal pitch seems to have a better shot, because taking the time and bearing the cost to go to a conference shows a deeper commitment. Waiting for that opportunity makes sense.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      And we do the same thing. I’m saving some of my projects to pitch in person at ICRS.

      For a writer, however a personal pitch and meeting FAR outweighs a query. It opens the door wide.

  6. Definitely overthinking the process. Sorry.

    This is a business, and good opportunities, in terms of submissions and queries, will not be neglected. Neither agents nor editors can afford to overlook them, if they want to keep their jobs.

    Timing may be a factor in work that’s marginal, but the chances are that something like that will be eliminated before too long, anyway.

    As for looking too eager and sending materials too soon…remember that the agent or editor has a number of projects, and is most definitely not watching the calendar, and making a judgement of “too early…too late…just right”. They’ve got other things to do in the meantime.

    Just send what you’ve got when you’re ready. It’ll be considered, and if it’s good, it’ll run.

    • Jim Lupis says:

      I’m with you, Andrew. Some things are just out of our control. All I can do is my best and trust God with the rest. A stamp and a prayer works for me.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      I’m glad you hit the “too eager” prompt. No one can ever seem too eager. It’s wonderful to see a query while it is fresh in our minds.

      And it’s not too late either even if it was requested months ago– unless it was a specific request to fill a specific need.

  7. I think I’m the queen of mental gymnastics. I find myself analyzing lots of things, including when is the best time to send a query. I tend to think some times are better than other times.

    Agents have schedules and lives too. From what I’ve read, that time between Thanksgiving and the beginning of January is not a good time to query. And probably some time in summer, but I’d bet that depends on the agent. πŸ™‚

    My thoughts on sending a requested proposalβ€”there may be an unspoken time limit. If a writer waits too long, will the agent remember requesting it? So, I’d love to hear your thoughts, IS there a time that is too long for sending a requested proposal to an agent?

    Great post, Wendy. I’m so glad I”m not alone in the mental gymnastics event. πŸ™‚

    • I’ve heard acquisitions editors say they are surprised by the number of requested proposals that never come in. But I’ve also heard the offer to send to them remains open indefinitely.

      I’m curious to see if Wendy has noticed a pattern.

    • The issue may be more the mindset or work habits of a writer who is very, very late on a requested proposal or MS.

      I doubt that any agent or editor will be too upset about a couple of weeks or a month…I think every writer would want to polish it that ‘one more time’ when the long-awaited request finally comes.

      But several months? Unless it was a full rewrite, I’d think that’s pushing it. It sends a message that the writer’s living in an arty world, rather than Planet Business.

      Fine, and we all want to be the starving writer producing perfection in a garret,but it’s a bit unfair to ask our putative agents and editors to join us at our table of penury.

      What’s a garret, anyway?

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      I just answered that above but since I’m so late to comment on the blog today let me say again, no. I can’t imagine an agent thinking something has come too late. (Unless it is for a specific genre that is now waning.)

      No agent is watching his calendar, checking off the days since he/she requested something. If I had requested something, say, at ACFW and it came today, I’d just think that the writer had been polishing or applying some of the things they learned while there.

      • Hi Wendy,

        If it’s never to late, how do you remember you requested a proposal? I’ve always wondered if you requested a proposal after a query or meeting, I better hurry before you forgot or changed your mind.

        Is there a time of year you prefer? When I started reading your post, I thought the next six weeks wouldn’t be a good time.

        Whenever I send off a query or contest entry I pray and end my prayer with, “Thy Will be Done.”

        Have a great evening!

      • This is good to hear, Wendy. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you weighed in. πŸ™‚

  8. Thought-provoking article, Wendy. I think it can depend on the project or publisher at times. The smaller publishers I deal with have open periods for new submissions, so if you don’t submit by a certain month, you have to wait until they open up again. For me, the first two books I wrote are set around Christmas, so I tried to time my submissions early in the year, hoping by the following fall (18 months later) the book would release.

    I don’t mind seeming too eager, because I want to send requested materials when my project is still fresh in the mind of the publisher/agent.

    • Christine Dorman says:

      I agree with you, Cheryl, regarding sending requested materials quickly. It may represent over-eagerness to some agents or editors, but to others, it may indicate readiness, organization, and readiness. If I’m selling a product, I think I should be ready to deliver the merchandise. But that’s just my neophyte’s point of view. If I’m wrong, Wendy, please set me straight.

      • Wendy Lawton says:

        No, I think you’re right, Christine. I can’t imagine a professional feeling like someone is over-eager. I just put that in there so we could discuss it/ πŸ™‚

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Yep. Perfect.

  9. Sarah Thomas says:

    I spent a couple of years performing mental gymnastics and then ended up hitting send thanks to what I now recognize was a holy nudge. But that was just one query, proposal, manuscript. For an agent sending out multiple queries throughout the year? Man, that’s gotta be exhausting. Have I mentioned how much I appreciate you?

  10. rachel m says:

    I asked an acquisitions editor friend of mine who works in the CBA and she said if she loves a proposal, she will do what she can to buy it—even if it won’t be published for two years hence. I think it goes to show that editors will make exceptions for projects they really like πŸ™‚

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      It’s true. When we find one of those books we are dying to represent, we turn ourselves inside out.

      the downside for us is we always suspect we are missing those book– maybe because the query didn’t do the manuscript justice or we just take too long to get to it.

      I can’t tell you the level of angst I have over authors that slipped out of my fingers because I couldn’t get to their manuscripts. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment and I follow them on Facebook and read their books and. . . It’s one of the casualties to the workload we have.

  11. Susan Roach says:

    Hmmm. Well, from what I’ve read, I wouldn’t query an agent during the holidays. And, if I knew her travel schedule, I wouldn’t do it right after she’s returned from a big writers’ conference, because her mind would be on the people she met there and not on me. Other than that, there really is no way to know when the timing was right and agent was “hungry for lunch” (Thanks Shelli:-) I think that when I’m ready to query, I’ll just have to trust God with the timing when I press “send” and choose to expect a long wait of silence in order to keep disappointment at bay. And if I expect nothing, if an agent does respond, what a happy surprise it will be.

    • Susan, you can tell where my mind was this morning!! *stomach grumbling*

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      And just to make you job even harder, some agents take a little breather during holidays or summer and, because we love our job and love finding wonderful new talent, we may just open up the submission file and leisurely read while the pressures off.

      (All to say– there’s no figuring this out. I love what Jim said: A stamp and a prayer. (Although most agents only want things sent electronically. That stamp is figurative.)

      • Wendy, I’m so glad that you added the part about an agent ‘may just open up the submission pile…’ And I, too, love the ‘stamp and prayer’ comment by Jim. My query process may end up starting right in the middle of summer. I’ll just keep praying,listening, and learning (and working on my second WIP) while trusting that He’s in control.

        Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  12. Are we overthinking this? Of course we are, Wendy. We’re writers. That’s what we do. πŸ™‚ We gather information, we get exercised over what to do with it, then we leap forward in faith. Thanks for your post. It’s comforting to know we’re not alone.

  13. Amanda Dykes says:

    Insightful post, Wendy, and I’ve been thinking of you and the B&S ladies as I know you’re entering ICRS amp-up time soon. You balance so much and with such grace! The dance of the publishing world’s schedule is an intricate one, isn’t it? I wonder– do submissions in general slow down for publishers over the summer for these reasons? Just wondering if the flipside of that is a submission having a better chance of being seen in an inbox that’s less crowded than usual. In any case, I’m thankful for your insight into all of this!

    • Amy Sauder says:

      Amanda, I was actually thinking the same thing. And perhaps their inboxes are heaped up just after summer/holidays with all the authors say “Yes! Now I can FINALLY submit!” We can all over-analyze (I sure do!) and submit as we see best, but it’s really probably a shot in the dark that will have little effect on the outcome.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Actually, that’s an interesting strategy, Amanda. We used to think that it was a waste to send proposals to editors after Thanksgiving but a couple of years ago we realized we were doing a lot of deals in December.

  14. Lori says:

    I agree most with Number 7. We are all overthinking this! Including me. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Sometimes the best thing is to just do it and hope for the best.

  15. As some of the other comments have said, it’s most comfortable for me to wait on God’s timing. I wonder, though, whether I ignore His signals sometimes, and try to impose my own sense of timing where my writing is concerned?

    For me, your post itself is well-timed, Wendy. I think I need to kick it up a notch get busy writing…now!

  16. Kristen Joy Wilks says:

    Gracious, I read a lot of agent blogs, starting a few years ago with Miss Snark and so I find myself overthinking. I read that things slow down in the summer and between Thanksgiving and New Years, so don’t submit then because folks are gone. But then there are agent posts saying that this is a great time to submit because there is a smaller slush pile. I’ve heard editors at conferences say that they think that you didn’t learn anything at the conference if you submit immediately after the conference. They said to wait 2 weeks to a month so that you can do a final revision based upon what was learned at the conference. I once submitted a year and a half after requested, the editor wrote back and said it was never too late, but it still wasn’t right for his house. I wonder if I should wait and revise some more once I’ve gotten a request to submit or should I jump on things while the agent might still remember me. And if they do remember me…is that good or did I totally annoy them at the conference. In the end after all this over-analyzing I usually look over the manuscript one more time if the conference made me think of some new changes to make and then I just click send and go on to work on something else. I have no idea what kind of day the agent is having or if the timing is right, I’m just trying to write a great book, a book that is so good that they will love it no matter when it arrives in their in-box. I’m glad to hear that you guys are going through the same sort of angst. Misery and silliness loves company right?

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      “I’m just trying to write a great book, a book that is so good that they will love it no matter when it arrives in their in-box.”

      There’s the answer.

  17. Tanya Dennis says:

    I am definitely interested in the answers to all this because, yes, I do think through all this, but maybe I am thinking too much.

    I consider summer to be “conference season”, so I generally avoid submitting during that time IF I know I will see representatives from that agency or publisher at upcoming events. I also avoid sending queries or submissions during December. It’s too crazy with the holiday and end-of-year clean-out. I prefer to wait until January hoping that agents/editors will have a New Year freshness when they view my submission.

    You asked: “Do you feel you can wait too long to send a requested proposal?”

    Yes. And, unfortunately, I have a couple regrets in this area. After one conference, multiple agents requested submissions and, following the advice of another writer, I chose to offer my proposal to one at a time rather than all at once. By the time I finally heard back from the first (a thoughtful rejection), it was months later. I felt my window had passed. What agent wants a client who doesn’t follow-up promptly?

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Tanya, I’m going to guess those agents would cut you some slack. When it comes to being late and feeling regret, no writer holds a candle to agents. We understand.

      Even a couple of years later you could write a personable cover letter, teasing about the length of time but telling the agent how much you enjoyed their comments and meeting them and that you were taking them up on their offer. I think we’d all laugh and completely understand.

  18. Angela Mills says:

    If you are over thinking it, then I’m sure your clients are very thankful you are doing so. It sounds like you are using your skills and knowledge to do your job strategically, and that’s what makes you guys great.

    I had someone ask me for a submission πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ and I was so worried about getting it in right away before she changed her mind that I dashed it off too soon. In retrospect, I wish I would have taken a couple days to polish it up. Everything worked out very well in spite of my newbie-ness, but, in the future, I will not be so eager to submit.

    All of this said, God’s timing outweighs all knowledge and strategy. There are times in all areas of our lives that we do something that makes no sense because God led us to and everything goes perfectly. Those are my favorite moments.

  19. Shauna says:

    Someone has called it paralysis by analysis, and I’m immobilized by it in many ways! The best way I’ve found to fight it is to hold my nose and jump, or click send, or drop it in the old-fashioned, big, blue mailbox where it can’t be retrieved when I’m suddenly suffocating in more analysis.

  20. My answer to number 5, as you well know, is yes. Thankful for second chances and grace that really does amaze.

  21. . . . maybe we’re over thinking this a bit since God is in actually in control.

    Isn’t he the greatest writer, agent, editor, and publisher..

    He only authored one book and it’s been a best seller for over a thousand years.

    And with Jesus as marketing director, how could he go wrong

  22. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful insights Wendy, and for asking what we think too. Books & Such is a remarkable agency. All of you work so hard on the timing of submissions for each individual client.

    I imagine the aftermath of a conference and the pre-ICRS are jammed with submissions.

    What I love about B&S is the prayerful surrender to God’s perfect timing. I don’t think you are over-thinking at all, but rather committed to discerning the timing.
    Grateful for your efforts and dedication.

  23. I’m not sure if the title of today’s post got anyone thinking along these lines, but here goes…

    What of the psychology by which we ‘time’ our submission to the Almighty?

    Most writers are very independent, very much self-starters. I know I am.

    But I suspect that many of the people here see their writing as a ministry, and at what point do we fully submit our efforts – and yes, our dreams – to God’s will?

    Do we do Divine check-ins, holding what we’ve done up for God’s inspection at discrete points along the path, or the the whole process of writing a prayer?

    Anyone care to pitch in, here?

    • And yes, it should read “…IS the whole process of writing a prayer?”

      Ah, well.

      • Andrew, great thoughts. I do believe the whole process of writing is prayer … for me, anyway. On my non-fiction … wow, that was the sweetest walk with God I’ve ever had. Seeking Him for every direction, the words. Oh, it’s not perfection and will never be a best-seller … but I always say God used it on this journey in perfecting me. We definitely have to give Him the work … place it in His hands … from the beginning to the end. Love your thoughts, Andrew.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Interesting track to take, Andrew. Funny that the word submission represents two very different actions. Or does it?

      • In this writing ministry…I think they ultimately mean the same thing.

        The submissions we send represent our submission to the will of the Almighty, whose Hand will guide the works that Glorify Him and help his people to see His love.

        And a book that isn’t picked up…perhaps our labor was meant for us to see Him more clearly, ourselves.

        The most personal, and vulnerable submission of all?

      • Wendy Lawton says:

        Preach it, brother!

    • Allison Duke says:

      I frequently pray over my manuscript. I see my writing as a calling from God, so why wouldn’t I ask Him for guidance regarding what I write? Often new plot twists or characters bloom in my mind when I come to the Lord in prayer over an area where I’m stuck. As far as timing goes, there have been months and whole years when I knew that God was leading me to set my writing aside for awhile and let Him lead me and teach me through life. Then at some point He gives me a release to pick the writing back up again, and I always find that I’ve improved as a writer even during the “off time.” So if so much of the writing process is dedicated to and led by God, of course I’m going to trust Him through the submission process as well. It’s all a journey, a learning experience, as I learn to trust in and lean on Him in everything I do.

  24. Ashley says:

    Regarding question 1 “Do you think a lot about the timing of your submission?”, I have mostly been thinking about submitting as far as my timeline and not the publishing world. Fitting in my book project into my life’s schedule often means submissions are dictated by when free time occurs.

    Does submitting to agents before the ICRS mean we’ll likely be lost in the pile during the busy season? Should we wait until after June 23 to submit to agents?

    Thanks for any advice.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      My guess is it would depend on the agents. a number of agents don’t attend ICRS so for them. it would be a very quiet time.

  25. Becky Jones says:

    Maybe avoid Monday mornings, so you don’t get lost in the start-of-week shuffle? And I hate to bug folks before they are properly caffeinated…

    As far as looking too eager: I have always only been thrilled when someone met or beat their projected deadline. I’d wager that agents and editors feel the same way!

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      You’d be wagering right.

      I do have to say, when a manuscript comes in that is so exquisite that the agent is on the phone reading portions aloud to her colleague– it hardly matters whether it came in on a Monday or a Tuesday, Becky. πŸ˜‰

  26. Jack Bybee says:

    Do you think a lot about the timing of your submission?
    ABSOLUTELY. Why? Having work as a technical bookseller for close to 40 years,I know publishers need to get their lists together for Fall. When is this done? Pre-ABA, Book Expo or whatever it’s called now. When is that done? So that, if the best time for an agent to submitit to an editor is November/December the best time for a writer to submit to an agent, is, before the industry goes away for summer… when be that? Whoops! Right now… “aghem”, dear sweet, intelligent, hard-working and responsive agent, I have a completed manuscript, (historical fiction…)
    Just as we guess about the right time to catch the interest of an editor, what would be your best guess as to the prime time to submit to an agent?
    SEE ABOVE (Nov./Dec.)
    When would it be the worst time?
    4 weeks BEFORE ABA.
    Do you feel you can wait too long to send a requested proposal?
    YES. Agent/Editor says “Jump!” — I jump.
    Can you send requested material too soon after the request? Look too eager?
    Hmmmmm… wait awhile, THREE FOUR DAYS? Then JUMP.
    If you’ve had success with a submission to an editor or an agent do you think there could have been perfect timing issues at work?
    Metaphysically, NO. If it was meant to happen, it was meant to happen.
    Do you think we are over thinking all this?
    Absolutely, now can I get back to writing my QUERY? Thanks. [LOL]
    Jack Bybee,
    Author: The Journal of Rudd.

  27. Sondra Kraak says:

    Wendy, this has been eye-opening. The post and the comments. I’m encouraged by the hearts of these writers, and their earnestness for good writing and publication.

    My basketball coach used to yell at me to stop thinking and start reacting. As I’ve recently begun agent-seeking, I’ve tried so hard to follow the rules and be educated, but in the end, I must let go and let God work. I must do my part in pursuing excellence, and enjoy each step God has called me to.

    I look forward to making connections with others at ACFW, and not just professional connections, but spiritual connections. We are all servants of the Living God!

  28. Peter DeHaan says:

    I once had a salesmen deduce that the only times he could successfully sell was Tuesday and Thursday afternoon between 2 and 4 p.m. As you might imagine, he didn’t last too long.

    Yet, I’ve done the same thing in submitting a query and proposal to agents: Not during the holidays or summer. Not on Mondays or Fridays. Not in the evening or first thing in the morning. Not while they’re at a conference — or the week before or the week after…

    In retrospect, I should have just sent it when it was done…and prayed for a positive result.