Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tips on when to query

Okay so you are zooming along on your NaNoWriMo book. You finish. You revise/polish and are ready to query. Check you calender, if it's December or January-wait. The truth is that there are windows of better opportunity to query. For example: after Nov. 1st, editors and publisher are in hours long meetings looking at the titles they have for the new year. They are talking marketing. They are discussing delivery date. They are figuring budgets. They are taking vacation for the holidays. December everything slows down to a crawl. It's desk clearing time and they look at the work that has been left hanging all year. The books that they wanted to buy but there is no shelf space or budget left. The books that were maybes need to be decided upon. Then there are holiday parties and vacations. The last thing they want is new queries. Okay, so you wait until the first week of January. Everything is fresh and new and you send it in--Along with thousands of others who have made new year resolutions or have been waiting through the holidays. Editors and agents are inundated. Quick decisions are made to reduce the slush pile. Yes, sometimes they throw the baby out with the bathwater.
But there are prime times to query- February and March are good. Skip April again holidays and Spring Break. May and June are good. Skip July and August-there are conferences and vacations. September is good, but beware that October is also prime conference months. The problem with conference months is that editors and agents are again inundated with queries from people they saw at conferences. The key is to guestimate when the agent/editors desk will have the least amount of slush. When they will be looking to fill slots.
Once you send out your query/partial be patient. Trust the editor/agent to do their job. That said, things do get lost in the mail so after 8 to 9 months you can send a quick e-mail-don't call- and see if they got your partial. Then wait some more.
What do you do while you wait? Go and live your life. Write another book. Have fun. Read a new craft book. Try again. Because as Kevin Spacey said in a video interview going around, "There is no prize, only the journey."

As a side note, the kind and lovely Linda Kage gave this blog the Cherry on Top Blog award. Thanks, Linda. :D


Rosalind Adam said...

A very useful post. I've always been aware that there were times when editors were at conferences etc but I've never been quite sure when that was so thanks for clarifying this issue.

Marty said...

Thanks Nancy - I will keep this in mind if the time ever comes for me to query.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Rosalind, Thanks! After a while you get a feel for these things. :D

Hi Marty, how's the writing going?


Linda Kage said...

Nancy, thank you so much for this information. I can understand why timing is important. I know there are days or certain times of the year that I'm just not in the mood for some things. Makes sense that editors and agents feel the same way.

Thanks. And your award looks wonderful on your blog page. I'm glad you like it.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Linda,

Thanks for stopping by and the award. As you said, each editor and agent have different moods and times, but this is a really good general time for the industry as a whole.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Great tips, Nancy! I have noticed differences when I've subbed at different times.