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Friday, November 19, 2010

Get’em In Now—Are December Queries a Wash???

Hurry up, people! Only two weeks left in November to get those queries in. Because everyone knows that December queries are basically a waste of time….right?

I’ve seen discussion about this topic around the internet and chat rooms. Here’s an example of an interaction:

QUESTION: What do agents consider the best time of the year to submit manuscripts?

ANSWER: I'm not sure the best time but I do know the worst time. December. Not only are people stressed from the holidays and more likely to be away from the office, but as I hear it agents are flooded with hastily written novels from November's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so much so that I have heard December referred to as the National Novel Rejection Month.

This is, of course, just that person’s opinion, but there are several thoughts floating around the blogosphere regarding the same idea, the three main ones being:

-Agents assume December queries are based on very quickly/non-revised NaNoWriMo novels that didn’t have time to rest.

-Agents already have a backlog and won’t get back to you until January anyway…and if you wait until they reopen in January, you’ll A) get them when they've cleared their plates of holiday queries, and B) possibly have a stronger query.

-Agents are like the Grinch, and look forward to ruining our dreams of being published during the holiday season (this was a prevailing JOKE, OF COURSE).

Well, on one hand, you might figure that agents who already have a query backlog of around 4 weeks will not be getting to your query in December anyway. But it’s not a waste of time to get in line—don’t necessarily expect an answer back before the holidays, but you never really know.

I’m gonna go with no—December queries are not a wash, unless you submit to Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary or Louise Fury of Lori Perkins Agency, who are both on query breaks until the New Year (you actually have until 11/30/10 to send a query to Ms. Fury). On that note, several agents do announce a short query break during the holidays, so be sure you check your agent’s website, blog, and/or twitter page for updates.

Final Note: Here’s an interesting interview with Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. It’s from last year around this time and touches on her opinion of National Novel Writing Month. The first question addresses the idea of December being NaQuRejMo (National Query Rejection Month):

Interview with Literary Agent Mary Kole about NaNoWriMo and Queries


  1. I've actually heard this, too - December is the bogged-down-with-Nano-crap-queries month. I've decided to take the holiday break with the rest of them, absorb some AWESOME fiction in December and query at the first of the year. Hopefully that works out for me. Great post, thanks!

  2. December is also a bad month for coming out with a book and book signings. December is a goo month to blog, meet new people, and write write write. And thanks for stopping by Karen's blog and saying hi. Great to meet you.

  3. Great advice once again! In the past, I've sent out queries in the first or second week of January, hoping that their in-basket was cleared out for the holidays. Also, I can't believe anyone would submit a NaNoWriMo novel without revising! Suddenly, I feel a lot of compassion for literary agents.

  4. Mmmm... I'm hoping this isn't always true, since my ms is out on sub right now with my agent! But, I should say, my agent got back to me within a few hours after submission, so I think there are always exceptions and sometimes, even luck!

  5. Terry Lynn,

    I'm not sure if/how this applies to submissions sent by agents to editors (on behalf of their clients). I'd imagine that your writing would have to be pretty darn tight to make it to the agent stage in the first place, and you're already there (check out Terry's awesome novel DOGSLED DREAMS!).

  6. Sound advice, Jess! Most of us are preoccupied with life in December and agents are no different. I love what Mary said--she's all sorts of awesome when it comes to helping out aspiring writers.

    I would also add August is a bad month to submit because of vacations as well.

    Have a great night!

  7. Just popped in to say hello. Thanks for stopping by my blog, as well.

    I thought I'd joined this blog, but see that I haven't. I'm all signed up now to read more of your posts.

    Nice to meet you and have a wonderful day.

    Happy Writing & Reading :-)