The Best of Times. The Worst of Times.
Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Back in the days when I was writing and submitting my work, hoping to catch the interest of an agent or editor, I would spend hours trying to strategize the perfect time for my query or proposal to land on their desks. I decided to give you a cheat sheet and save you from hours of analysis. Here are a few of the worst times for your work to appear:
- The weeks just prior to a major trade show— BEA or ICRS
- The week just after a major trade show
- The week before a writer’s conference at which the agent or editor is giving a presentation
- The week after a writer’s conference
- Three or four weeks after a writers’ conference when all the requested manuscripts begin coming in and bury your submission
- The week before the editor’s or agent’s vacation
- The week before or after a three-day weekend
- Thanksgiving week
- The week before Christmas
- The week after Christmas
- The week or two following NANOWRIMO
How about the best times to query:
- The day your target agent or editor finally cleaned out his inbox and answered all his queries
- The day the agent or editor decided he is looking for the exact book you’ve written
- The first week of the year unless, like two of our Books & Such agents, your recipient is attending a new year conference
- The first week in September (another new year) as long as the recipient has no major writing conferences planned
- In one of the ho-hum months where nothing much is happening
Hopefully you’ve already guessed this is written with tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek. There is no way, short of being a stalker, you can pick the perfect time for your query or proposal to land on the agents or editor’s desk.All my strategizing back in the day was probably a huge waste of energy.
So what’s the best strategy then?
- Offer a novel that will get attention simply because it’s a fresh story, beautifully told; or, in the case of nonfiction, a great idea written by the perfect person.
- Meet the editor or agent at a writing conference if possible. Nothing beats having that personal connection.
- Make sure your name is recognizable and memorable if you can’t meet in person. You do this through social media.
- Do your best to send the query at a good time– not Christmas, not trade shows. Leave the rest of the timing to God.
- If you don’t hear back or you get a “no thanks,” try again with your next book. Sometimes it’s just because there’s another book too much like it in the pipeline.
Anyway, that’s my half-brain-dead advice on the day I’ve come home from both the major trade show of the year AND a writing conference, all in the same week.
So. . . what’s your advice? What kind of schedule wisdom have you absorbed. What do you think is the best strategy for timing of submissions?
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Finally! A literary agent reveals the best and worst times to query. Click to Tweet
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