Friday, November 26, 2010

NOW is the most wonderful time of the year!

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Oops, got carried away there. *ahem*

There's a lot of debate from writers about when is the best time of the year to submit query letters. In the summer, especially August, the publishing industry is usually very slow, with numerous agents and editors going on vacation. Living in Europe, I've learned that during March (The Bologna Children's Book Fair) and October (The Frankfurt Book Fair), nothing happens (at least, not for newbie writers). Some writers check agents' websites, and time their submissions around whatever conferences the agents may be attending. This time of year is potentially the worst for submissions. First Thanksgiving, then the end of NaNoWriMo, which means numerous crazy NaNo-ers who finished a draft in a month will be sending their precious work off. Then of course Christmas, Hanukkah, winter break, etc. While agents are regaling their families with scary ghost stories, who wants to read query letters?

Because the business is so competitive, I think writers get caught up in rules and superstitions. They agonize about which season to submit, which day of the week to submit, even what time of day.

So why in the world did I chose to submit now?

Well, I was ready to go.

I get all the rules, but at the same time I figure agents get hundreds of letters a week, no matter what time of year it is. And most agents probably read their submissions more or less in the order they receive them. So even if I submit right before Thanksgiving, come Monday morning I'll be first in line.

Besides, I figure my best strength comes not from what time of day it is, or how busy the agent might be, or whether she's hungry or tired or whatever, but whether or not my work is good. So if I'm ready... why not go for it?

However, as Andrea pointed out in my last submission post, that probably does mean a longer wait for me, good news or bad. So I'm settling in for the season, trying not to think about it too much. At least living five hours ahead of the East coast, I can be pretty certain that no agent's going to contact me in the a.m. So I get a worry-free couple of hours of writing every morning!

Given all these seasonal shifts... what time of the year is the best for you to get writing done?

11 comments:

  1. Wishing you the best of luck with the submission process, Anne!

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  2. When you're ready to go, there's no reason to sit on a ms. Good for you! I'll keep my fingers crossed!

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  3. Thanks so much for your encouragement, throughout this process, Elisabeth and Andrea!

    Part of it is that I think we as writers spend so much time aching to be ready, that it's hard to wait any longer when we're ready to go.

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  4. The best time of year for me to get any writing done is summer, because we have an extra room in the house -- a screened porch -- and I'm usually the only one who's interested in using it!

    It is 15ºF where I live this morning -- I am really missing that porch!

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  5. Mmmm... that sounds lovely in my cold house today, too, Anne!

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  6. I think it's good to take those warnings about when to send and when not to send with a big grain of salt. My agent signed me on in the height of summer. I still can't get over that. All the romantic notions I had of when I'd finally get noticed by an agent bit the dust.

    So, damn the maneuvers -- just go straight at 'em!

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  7. Hah, love this, Mary! Go you! And thanks for the encouragement!

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  8. Good luck, Anne!! Hoping to be right there with you in a week or so. Cheering for you!!!

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  9. Thanks, Joanna! Best luck to you, too!!!

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  10. Summer's the best time for me since I have vacation days.

    I don't pay attention to seasons. I remember during the time of snail mail there were extra long waits, but with email I find people responding to me during or after the busiest of times.

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  11. When I was teaching, I got the most writing done in the summer, too, Medeia.

    Email really has improved the submission process, in my mind. I'm not sure in agents' minds! But it is a lot speedier (and cheaper!).

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