PDA

View Full Version : Is it really a bad idea to submit to agents in October?



CryingKatie
10-09-2015, 09:07 PM
some agency websites I've checked out said not to submit in October because of books fairs agents are attending. Only some websites say this. Are most agents like this?

Sage
10-09-2015, 09:20 PM
There are book fairs all year round: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/65300-hitting-the-road-in-2015.html There's always some time that someone is saying you "shouldn't" send queries because of... holidays, book fairs, summer vacations, school starting, spring break. If you just keep waiting, you just end up behind the people who didn't wait.

However, if the agency says don't send, follow their instructions. That is about them, not about everyone.

CryingKatie
10-09-2015, 09:22 PM
So as long as they don't say otherwise on their website, it's okay?

JetFueledCar
10-09-2015, 09:23 PM
The only time I wouldn't send out a query is in December, because it's far too likely to get mixed in with unpolished NaNovels and not get its fair shot. October, AFAIK, is fine. I'm with Sage on this one.

mayqueen
10-09-2015, 09:37 PM
As long as the agent is open to queries, query when your query and your manuscript are ready to go. There's always a conflict, but agents read queries (usually) in the order that they receive them. Some times of year, you might have a longer wait, but I wouldn't hold off querying because of that.

Sage
10-09-2015, 09:45 PM
The only time I wouldn't send out a query is in December, because it's far too likely to get mixed in with unpolished NaNovels and not get its fair shot.

I would still argue that this isn't a reason to hold off. If agents get 10 unpolished NaNo novels (and, ew, who is sending those?) for every polished novel, that's going to make those polished novels shine more. If your novel appears to be an unpolished NaNo novel, you have other problems.

JetFueledCar
10-09-2015, 09:55 PM
(and, ew, who is sending those?)

Pretty sure it was QueryShark that said they get a ton. So apparently a lot of people.

ElaineA
10-09-2015, 09:55 PM
I've sent 5 queries this month, had replies on 3. I happen to know that 2 of those replies came from people going to conferences this month.

That said, follow the guidelines and recommendations of the agency. Always. Every time.

CEtchison
10-09-2015, 10:32 PM
I received a request from an agent last spring while she was attending BEA. It made me giggle because it definitely was not a form reply. It was likely written on her phone and was kinda funny because it had a few typos. Couldn't help but wonder if she'd had a martini at lunch. lol

Like others have said, not all agents attend the same conferences, book expos, etc. If you're ready, just send it.

Jennifer_Laughran
10-09-2015, 10:58 PM
Is it really a bad idea to submit to agents in October?
No.

Aggy B.
10-09-2015, 11:30 PM
If a particular agency says not to submit during a particular time then you don't submit to that agency during that time.

As far as more general comments about not submitting in December/May/Whatever: Agents are always busy. I submitted year round when I was querying. However, I did add extra weeks to my anticipated wait time during holiday periods. And even then I got really fast responses during December/January and some during the summer that were 4-5 months after I'd sent the query. There is no pattern or predictability.

Send the query when you are ready to query (as long as you do so in accordance with the individual agent's guidelines).

CryingKatie
10-10-2015, 07:32 AM
I've sent 5 queries this month, had replies on 3. I happen to know that 2 of those replies came from people going to conferences this month.

That said, follow the guidelines and recommendations of the agency. Always. Every time.

Just curious, what agencies responded? I'm looking for an agency with quick response times.

Roxxsmom
10-10-2015, 07:37 AM
If an agent says not to submit at a given time, don't submit at that time. But if they don't say they're closed, then I'd sub. Even if they're busy with other things at that time, they'll probably just clear the decks when they get back. It's impossible to predict when a particular agent will be putting queries on the back burner for a while, unless they tell you specifically.

Just curious, what agencies responded? I'm looking for an agency with quick response times.

Check out query tracker (https://querytracker.net/). They have tons of information about response rates and times for agents, including at least some in the UK. But no one I know of has subbed to just one agent (unless they got amazingly lucky with the first one they queried). Unless the process is very different in the UK than in the US, the general advice is to query in small batches of 5-6 at a time and to use your initial request rate to gauge whether or not your query letter and opening pages are appealing.

jclarkdawe
10-10-2015, 08:24 AM
Repeated from long ago:


The time not to send out your query is when it's not ready yet. Other than that, it doesn't make a difference.

I've been rejected on Thanksgiving, and know that some agent was commenting on using the Thanksgiving holiday to get caught up. Many agents do queries during non-office hours.

I would prefer to wait until after the holidays, because I don't need the extra pressure during the season. And you really should wait 30 days after you get the perfect query, to make sure in the light of day it really is perfect.

And I've avoided 2 January, because I've known way too many people were sending stuff the same day.

And you need to know that January is bad, because everybody who wrote their novel in November, edited in December, and query in January. And February? We're all lucky it's only 28 days, because it just plain sucks. March is bad as agents realize the weather is getting nice and they don't need to spend all their time in the office. In April we have the IRS in the US and you know what that does to people's moods. May is when everybody gets married, so that rules May out. June is when summer vacation begins, so who has time to deal with queries? By July the kids are bored and vacations have begun in earnest. Which also takes care of August. September is when school starts, and that's pretty hectic. By October, things have quieted down but it's getting dark early and that's depressing. November has Thanksgiving, and we're back to December with the holidays. So apparently you never should send out your query.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

TerryRodgers
10-10-2015, 05:01 PM
This says it all.

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2015/10/query-timing.html

ElaineA
10-10-2015, 05:48 PM
Is one hour fast enough? That would be Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich.

In all honesty, I'm not quite sure about why you'd be limiting your querying to agents with quick response times only. I'd hope you'd be querying the agents you think will be the best fit for your work. Just because an agent has a reputation for being quick on the query doesn't mean they always will be. Life happens, vacations happen, conferences happen, their clients happen...

Anyway, seconding QueryTracker. When you get to the Agent list, there is an icon that looks like a tin can (or something) on the far right side. It's called the Data Explorer and below that there is another icon for further data.

Good luck. :)

Treehouseman
10-12-2015, 05:11 AM
Just curious, what agencies responded? I'm looking for an agency with quick response times.

You can't tell. Mine responded in 24 hours and we signed within the week, but there are still people on her list who have been waiting for months. It's just luck, it really is. There's no quantifiable way to push a fast response.

Also fast responders reject more.

STING
10-12-2015, 10:06 AM
There are book fairs all year round: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/65300-hitting-the-road-in-2015.html There's always some time that someone is saying you "shouldn't" send queries because of... holidays, book fairs, summer vacations, school starting, spring break. If you just keep waiting, you just end up behind the people who didn't wait.

However, if the agency says don't send, follow their instructions. That is about them, not about everyone.

A mail sent to a UK agent yesterday got an immediate out-of-office reply saying she is at the Frankfurt Book Fair and will be back on October 23. One agent reassures us on his blog that, though submissions pile up during book fairs, he does look at everything later. Another says she checks her mail for submissions wherever she is, but she may be in a minority.

I guess what you say makes perfect sense. I go back now to polishing my covering letter for the 151st time and proceed with the submission!


... but agents read queries (usually) in the order that they receive them.

Usually, maybe. One London agent on my list has made it clear that she doesn't read submissions in a 'chronological' order but on the basis of how good the covering mail is. That's enough reason for me to improve the covering letter of my dreaded October submission for the 152nd time!

Aggy B.
10-12-2015, 03:28 PM
STING: There's a difference between reading queries in the order they are received, and reading requested submissions in the order they are received. My agent responded to my query in minutes, and read the MS in a couple of weeks. But I had others agents during the query process who had a pretty typical 1 month response time on queries because they are read in order.

STING
10-14-2015, 05:04 AM
STING: There's a difference between reading queries in the order they are received, and reading requested submissions in the order they are received. My agent responded to my query in minutes, and read the MS in a couple of weeks. But I had others agents during the query process who had a pretty typical 1 month response time on queries because they are read in order.

That makes me feel better.

TRezvani
12-07-2015, 11:59 PM
I plan to space my queries out a bit so they're not all in the same month. I just sent a few, and I know December probably isn't the BEST month, but I also know that no agent worth his/her salt is going to reject something based on query date. I like to think agents read queries when it's the best time for them to do so, regardless of when the query was sent. (I hope I'm right.)

Jamesaritchie
12-08-2015, 06:20 PM
The only time I wouldn't send out a query is in December, because it's far too likely to get mixed in with unpolished NaNovels and not get its fair shot. October, AFAIK, is fine. I'm with Sage on this one.

Not in my experience. This said, I could give you a strong reason to not query during any month of the year.

Cyia
12-08-2015, 06:53 PM
There is absolutely no time in the year that you "can't" submit to anyone, unless they've got a note on their site saying they're closed to submissions.