October 10th, 2008


letters from the query wars

# of queries read this week: 152
# of partials/manuscripts requested: 1
genre of partials/manuscripts requested: historical fantasy

Today I was thinking about time, and how there never seems to be enough of it to do everything you "should" do.

This led to thinking about timing. I've had people ask in the past whether there is an optimal time to send a query to have a better chance of getting a request rather than a rejection. I think this question is based on the myth that there are times of the year when the publishing cycle slows, therefore allowing agents more time to dig into reading rather than paperwork, subsidiary sales, and so on. If this mythical time once existed, I don't believe it does any longer. So, in that respect, I have to say that trying to time out a query will likely yield the same results the author would have gotten anyway.

However, I have noticed one thing over the years that seems to be a relevant timing issue and that has to do with when agents are attending conferences. I've got one coming up, and I'm already receiving queries that mention the author hopes to meet me at the conference. Since meeting writers is one of the reasons agents go to conferences, that's all well and good. But what I have noticed in the past, and what I expect may occur this month in my own query inbox are those queries that are sent too late for the conference to be a relevant point. There's a lead time for getting through queries/submissions and any number of things can increase or decrease the response time, so a query received too close to the time of the conference will not allow for the agent to request material if they were interested and get it read. Sometimes the agent doesn't even have the opportunity to see the query beforehand. Just something to keep in mind.....