*Once again, thank you to Hilary Wagner and PROJECT MAYHEM for the interview on Tuesday*
Fall is notoriously busy for agents (then again, every season is busy for agents). Often, they’re catching up from summer vacations or preparing stellar submissions for editors, and slush pile query letters can get pushed to the back of the pile. That said, this is also a great time to submit! Agents are on the lookout for their next clients, and that includes you.
What does this jumble of semi-contradictory information mean? Basically, it means to get energized about your writing, but remember to be patient (right now, I’m picturing the old witch from the movie Princess Bride taunting me…”Boo! Boo! Rubbish! Filth!”). Lots of folks are going to be submitting, so just concentrate on sending out your best work.
A few things to keep in mind this month:
The Frankfurt Book Fair is next month (October 6-10), and attending agents will probably be über busy the weeks before and after. It’s not like the Bologna Book Fair (which is specific to children’s lit), but some agents who represent MG/YA also work with adult fiction/nonfiction (I know Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency has been to this Fair before). Just something to keep in mind—if your targeted agent is going, get that query in if you’re hoping to hear back in September. Otherwise, be aware that you may encounter delays. **FBF, the world's largest annual trade show for the book publishing industry, is held annually for five days in Frankfurt, Germany. It attracts exhibitors from about 110 countries and is attended by more than 250,000 people, of whom about 7,000 are publishers, editors, and exhibitors.
Also, several agents have been closed for some part of the summer. Here are a few who will be ready to receive queries and submissions next week:
Upstart Crow-open to submissions September 8
Waxman Agency- Holly Root open to submissions September 7
BookEnds- Jessica Faust open to submissions September 7 (not MG/YA, but their blog has good query tips, and I thought I’d mention it in case any of you dabble in adult)
Book Cents Literary- still closed (Christine Whitthohn rocks though)—keep an eye on the website
PS—can’t believe I missed this, but Michelle Andelman (totally awesome children’s agent- she used to be at Lynn C. Franklin) has moved to Regal Literary, so if she was on your list of agents to query and you weren’t aware of it, make note of the change. NO EMAIL QUERIES- they are snail mail only.
Finally, here are some tips from Irene Goodman Literary Agency agent Barbara Poelle on how to make your September rock (click HERE for full article from Guide to Literary Agents, post from September 1):
1. Let agents who have your work know if other agents also now have it. If you have requests for partials or fulls of your manuscript within the first 2-3 weeks of submission, that is a great time to nudge the agents who have it: “Barbara, I just wanted to keep you in the loop that the partial/full for my novel Thunder Vampires has now been requested by three other additional agents. Looking forward to hearing from you.”
2. Be patient. If you are not getting quick responses on your submission, NO WORRIES!!! Simply mark your calendar for 8-12 weeks out from the date you e-mailed your submission. On that date, send a simple “Barbara, I am circling back to check the status of my requested submission, Thunder Vampires. I look forward to hearing from you.”
3. Use a little shame. If you are following up, send your one-line nudge e-mail as a response to the initial request from materials that the agent sent, so that when I scroll down I can see it. This accomplishes two things: it refreshes my memory on the material, and it shames me when I see the date of request
4. Be patient, again. Generally I send a “Thanks for the nudge! It is working its way up the queue!” e-mail, but don’t panic if I don’t. It really is working its way up the queue.
5. Resist the urge to call. Never call the office and ask to speak to an agent who is reviewing your requested submission. If you get an offer from an agent and want to communicate your next steps, e-mail. Don’t call.
6. Keep working. You should be working on your next novel/proposal while you are nudging on the first, this way you have further materials to offer should someone ask, and it will prevent you from barking and eating hair while you wait to hear on your masterpiece.
Okay September … bring it!