Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Summer Doldrums

With but two weeks remaining to the month of August, the publishing world has gone dark.

They have their summer hours, with weekends beginning in the middle of Friday, if not on the day itself. You wonder at their complaints about the dearth of book sales, considering how they treat the work week, but tradition is hard to change even if the industry is much in need of change to keep pace with changing times.

You may have a query letter you've been polishing. You no doubt have your list of literary agents you believe would be a perfect fit.

Follow some of them on Twitter and you'll notice that they are tweeting about their vacation. Where they've gone. What they're seeing. What they're eating.
They are not in the office, waiting for your letter to drop into their inbox.

In fact, they are dreading the return to that office, with an inbox overflowing with missives from authors. Would you want your letter read by someone who resents its presence?

This is not a good time to query, unless you can be certain that your target is not part of the publishing summer hours crowd. All the work you put into making the letter perfect is worthless if a pair of receptive eyes are not perusing your stellar prose.

Check social media before you query. You could be saving yourself a lot of sadness, a lot of stress, and the misery of finding that more and more these days, no response means the answer is no.

September is a lovely month for querying. Publishing is preparing for the next year's catalogue, and searching for the next big blockbuster plot. Don't rush things. Wait until the heat of summer has cooled and the literary agents have recovered from the strain of a vacation to some exotic locale. Or recovered from the strain of spending two weeks in the close company of bawling, squabbling children and relatives who aren't avid readers.

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