If you’re itching to get your submission off your plate so you can focus on holiday fun, send it to publishers now. But don’t expect anything more than stacking on a desk to happen to it before mid-January. Between now and then, editors will be dealing with urgent in-house production deadlines and tying up loose ends on projects already in development before vacationing. Acquisition meetings are pretty rare with everyone coming and going. Even agents reduce their submissions to editors after Thanksgiving . . . which makes this a good time for you to submit to agents. They vacation, too, but their reduced dealings with editors means they have more time to catch up on submissions.
Wow! I was just contemplating this very issue so thank you, Dear Editor, for publishing such a timely post!
The suggestion to submit to agents at this time is a good one!
Thanks, great timing with this post. I was just wondering about this issue. MID-January?? Sigh. Well, now I’m mentally prepared to wait. Time to work on the WIP…
Mid-January since they’ll be doing all their re-entry and post-vacation catching up stuff in the first week or so. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, coming back from vacation is usually as much work as getting ready for it!
Now is a great time to work on manuscript development. 10 Day Book Club is a great place to do that. It’s a virtual book club where readers comment to suggest enhancements. Also – social networking is included along with training on maintaining your foundation.
This year, I submitted (2 different projects) to agents in Jan and in the summer. I got much quicker responses in Jan, but I received far more requests in the summer. I wonder if the Jan rejections were because of the project or post-holiday grumpiness due to being back at their desks. I’ll be querying another project in late spring and avoid the problem altogether! 😀
Editors and agents get bombarded with submissions during January and February because of New Years Resolutions, etc. Perhaps resolutions account for your quick turnaround on those Jan submissions: the editors might have pledged to themselves, “I’m going to be on top of submissions this year!” Also, there’s this: The Chinese New Year takes place at the beginning of our calendar year, and its celebration has overseas printers shutting down for a significant period of time. So 1) the urgent in-house production deadlines are over for editors, and 2) no new production stages are coming from printers and requiring editorial review. This means editors can devote more attention to submissions.
Exactly the right information at the right time!
Thanks so much Deborah – great insight as always.
You mention this being a possibly quieter time to submit to agents (if not editors) – but what about the NaNoWriMo fear?
I and many other writers are holding off the entire month of December for fear the agents are biased against the NaNo onslaught and might think we belong to that deluge.
Agents and editors know full well that a fair number of the Jan submissions are NaNoWriMo projects. I was just talking to an agent about this recently. What you need to do is make sure that your NaNoWriMo creation has been properly revised before you send it out, whenever that may be. NaNoWriMo is an excellent opportunity to whip up a first draft, but you are experienced enough to know that this first draft is not going to be of submission quality. Do your due diligence with the manuscript and submit when it’s ready and not a moment before. If that means your ms lands on an agent’s desk at the same time as a manuscript that hasn’t been properly revised, so be it. Your quality will stand out. Trust agents to be expert enough to know the difference when they see it.
Ah, I should clarify. The WIPs we’re sending out are NOT NaNoWriMo projects but ones that we just happened to finish (after a year of editing or more) in December. (goodness I would kill myself of Chinese shame if I ever did something like send out a NaNo piece two weeks after)
Are agents going to automatically discriminate against EVERYTHING they receive in December just because they fear it’s a NaNo piece?
I wouldn’t worry about that, Sophia.
Thanks for the post….very timely for a lot of us. “D
Thanks for the advice. Will kick out a few queries in the next week or so.