Beat the Rush

Dear Miss. Snark,

Thanks for this blog. I lurk and learn here daily.

I write romance and have a query question. There are romance conferences year round, but The Big One is in July. Agents, publishers, and writers attend The Big One in droves. Writers come out of this convention pumped, er, hyped up. I'd assume all that renewed enthusiasm leads to a deluge of queries in the couple of months following. Yes? (not as much as you think)

I have a completed novel working it's way through my writer's critique group at the rate of a chapter a week. That time frame allows me to use the critiques I receive to polish this novel, while still leaving time to work on writing my new one.

Is it worthwhile to double-time the finished novel through the critique process (two chapters a week) in order to get the query for the polished novel into a slush pile I assume will be smaller in May/June than it is in August/September? Doing so would mean temporarily spending less time on my current WIP.

I will, of course, be sure when I send my query-plus-five to put loads of interesting stickers on the envelope and spritz the inside pages with plenty of expensive cologne.

Oh yes, lots of stickers. Lots of cologne. Excellent idea. (Killer Yapp opens one eye at the sound of sardonic howling)

There's no way to time the arrival of your scented stickered masterpiece. Agents don't adhere to a master schedule (Ok! All agents in the pool, NOW) for vacations or conferences. And even a 10% increase in my query letters in a given week means I'm reading maybe two more a day than normal. That's nothing to worry about.

It's better to invest your time in making this book something that will survive the slush pile no matter how many manuscripts are competing for attention there. Making this the very best you can is the ONLY thing you have control over. Don't skimp on the time needed to develop it in the mistaken idea that you have to beat the rush.


Anonymous said...

How about those scratch and sniff stickers. Perhaps a liver treat one to attract KY's attention

Anonymous said...

I've attended The Big One a few times. I have heard (repeatedly) editors and agents say they are always amazed at the number of requested manuscripts they never get.

As near as I can tell, slush piles know no season.