Slush is Timeless

My Dear Miss Snark,

I read with interest that "Spring is a horrible busy season." I've heard it's pointless to send out anything in the summer, as everyone in New York is either in the Hamptons or sunning in Ibiza.

I've got a stunner first novel. I've done my homework. I'm eager to query. Would I be better off tweaking my little heart out on the ms. all summer (or starting on the second novel) rather than blowing my wad early, as this last will only see my one-page brilliance languishing amidst the dusty stillness of agents' offices everywhere? Am I better off waiting until the leaves redden once again and a chill returns to the air?

Bless you for enlightening the dimwitted masses. A tub of gin and a sausage bouquet are en route to you & Killer Yapp.

(KY here: "I'm waiting at the door...when will you be here??")

Hi Miss Snark,

Your blog is hilarious. Thanks for it.

Question: You said in a recent post that spring is an especially busy time of the year in agent-land. BEA, bla, bla, bla. Is there a better time of the year to query? A time of the year you are less busy?


Ok, I was mostly being sardonic about the busy waiting for the Brangelina baby... you know that right??

I'm not much on starting a project in the summer mostly cause I'm too busy reading trashy novels and chaperoning KY on his trips to Coney Island, but that doesn't mean I don't read the slush pile.

"Summer season" in publishing means we work half days on Friday (or no Fridays here at Snark Central!) and the month of August is pretty slow (ie I'm not here). Other than that, we just whine about the humidity and keep working.

I like to wind things up at the end of May, sort of a cleaning of the files. That's when I look at stuff that hasn't sold and decide if there's more life in the equine or it's time to quit beating the poor thing.

I do that again in December at the close of the calendar year too. It's not so much a season as it is just a good time step out of the day to day and take a longer range look.

There is no hard and fast rule though. Each agent, and agency, operates differently. There is no perfect time to submit, nor any completely wrong time. When you send it has almost ZERO impact on when I read it unless you arrive with a two book deal from Bantam and a recently deceased agent who is guiding you to my door from the afterlife.


MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

You had me at "stunner."

Anonymous said...

I'd heard that the holidays were a horrible time to query. But I started querying in November because my novel was ready to go. I received surprisingly quick replies from most agents. One even asked for the full a week before Christmas. So ya never know.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that if the manuscript is ready then submit it. I don't think there is actual magic involved in getting published. Yes, there are stories of being at the right place at the right time, but one cannot force those.
At least I don't think Submit and start on number 2.

Anonymous said...

Golly, I've wanted an honest answer to that question for some time. I suspect that Ms. Snark has finally provided this honest answer...

Encoded in her response...
I think...

...If I can just decipher the Mano Blahnik Code...

Anonymous said...

I've also heard, at various times, not to query:

1) right after a major conference--your masterpiece will get lost in the blizzard of dreck

2) right before a major conference, 'cause the agents & editors are getting ready (how? packing the stilettos? feeding Killer Yapp a last Snausage omelet?)

3) anytime between November and New Year's, because all these people do at this season is party

4) summer -- for obvious reasons.

As far as I can count (I do words, not math) that leaves approximately 8 weeks out of the year that an author might timidly presume to query.

This is rubbish, like most other comments of this type. Query when you're ready, not before, not later, IMO.