Thursday, May 13, 2010

16 It’s Time to Consult the Querying Cosmos!

fortune-teller-black-and-white
Many of us will find more time to devote to writing with summer on the way.  A while back, I read bits and pieces of advice that suggested summer months were also a good time to query. I decided to revisit this idea and do a little investigating. When I searched online using the phrase, “Best time of year to submit query,” the word astrology came up in one of the search results. Who knew I should be looking to the heavens and consulting cosmic forces to decide on when to submit my manuscript?

In all seriousness, there were some useful tidbits of information I stumbled upon that may benefit the masses:
  • Agent Lisa Grubka encouraged writers to consider that summer is still relatively slower than the rest of the year, though it is not as slow as it may once have been in the publishing world.
  • Nathan Bransford offered some insight about avoiding holidays for querying.
  • Various writers and agents suggest not querying immediately after attending a conference. Agents and editors receive a flurry of queries following such an event.
  • Query Tracker can help you monitor the progress an agent or editor is making in response to queries.
  • A company or individual's blog or website will usually have the most up-to-date information. Check there for alerts about query status, out of the office trips, and reorganizations within an agency or publishing house.
Timing is important, but with an obvious gap between when you send a query and when it is actually read, there's no certain way to hit it right. On second thought, maybe I ought to consult my horoscope after all!

What have you heard on this topic? Do you think there’s truth to any of these tips?

Happy Querying!
Marissa

16 comments:

  1. It seems that the summer months may be a great opportunity for writers but not so hot for querying. At least for most agents. However, as you said - it's always best to consult each AGENT'S guidelines before sending your work!

    THANKS!

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  2. I did not know that, thank you. I've read various agent blogs where they have discouraged queries through the winter holidays, but I didn't think about not querying right after a conference. Great info - thanks!

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  3. Great post! Funny too. It is a bit of luck though, I think a lot of the timing has to do with what's going on with the agent at the time you send the query. Sometimes the stars have to align.

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  4. You pretty much nailed it, it seems. I have read and heard the same. Good post. Now all I need to do is send things in, actually send them. Ha!

    www.-a-pen-in-neverland.blogspot.com

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  5. Ann Marie, I agree. If you check the guidelines for an individual agent or editor, you probably can't go wrong!

    Helena, glad we could help!

    Lisa, we have to laugh about this whole nerve-wracking process, or we'll go crazy! You're right- individual agents may have specific schedules that pertain only to them.

    A Pen in Neverland, thanks! I'm glad to hear you've heard the same. Totally agree! Sending the query is half the battle!

    Marissa

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  6. I haven't heard much, except that it's not good to query at the end of the year around the holidays. I'm glad summer will be a good time to start querying as I'm going to start soon.

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  7. I think it's time to query when you have the best, most polished manuscript possible :) But, I have heard that you should avoid querying around holidays as well as in Jan/Feb since a lot of writers make New Year's resolutions and send out a ton of queries then.

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  8. Natalie, I'm glad to know you've heard the same about the holidays. It's such a hectic time of the year so it's easy to understand why we should avoid it. Thanks for sharing your insights!

    Jamie, great point about New Year's resolutions. I've also heard in the world of picture books that agents get a flurry of queries pertaining to a big, current event after one occurs (e.g., September 11th).

    Marissa

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  9. I heard that writers should avoid querying during holidays and the beginning of the year after the new year resolutions. lol.
    I'm hoping to start to query before the summer, but perhaps it may be wise not to rush and wait till the holidays are over.
    Great post. :)

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  10. Thanks! This is a helpful post - and timely. I'm getting ready to re-enter the query world. *jaws music here* LOL! :-)

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  11. Lindsay, good luck with your queries! Sending them out is the important part.

    Shannon, you crack me up. Jaws music is in my ears, too, these days! Querying can be frightening. Be brave!

    Marissa

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  12. Marissa, I've NEVER heard of the summer/querying thing! Am I a loony out here all by myself? Misinformed? What? Thanks so much for the helpful information!

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  13. Julie, it must be the teacher in me, dreaming of summer vacation and how I'm going to spend it! I'd seen this tip a while back and was surprised to see some real discussion about it. Glad to help :)

    Marissa

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  14. Marissa and Martina, a shout out to you on my blog!

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  15. Great post. As an editor for Stories for Children Magazine I'll have to say the end of Spring and through Summer are always the best time to send queries or submissions in to us. I've had a lot of other editing friends of mine state the same thing. This is also the time of year most publishing houses are looking at what types of subjects they want to focus on and the way the market is trending on certain subjects.

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  16. Julie, thanks for the shout out!

    Virginia, thank you for weighing in as an editor! What a fantastic opportunity to hear what your thoughts are as an insider. We hope to have you back soon!

    Marissa

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