Monday, August 29, 2016

The Dead Zone

The publishing year calendar for this time of year is rather standard fare. The industry has entered into the dead zone, where no breeze blows and no manuscript ship can sail.

August - September 2016

Out of Office

Last Holiday 
of Summer
return to work

Yes, it's dead quiet in New York City for the next couple of weeks. Not a creature is stirring, not even a book worm.

Copy and paste this handy calendar wherever you keep track of your query letters, and refer to it often when you have the urge to send a literary agent a perfectly polished query. Just don't. Wait until they've had a chance to recover from their sun holiday in Europe or the rigors of closing up the beach house in the Hamptons.

You want the agent to be in the best frame of mind when they read your killer opening line, right? They can't very well read it when they're out of the office and not checking e-mails. Sure they'll find it when they get back to work in two weeks, but can you imagine how many e-mails have accumulated in that time? And do you want your query to get the scantest of scant perusal because the agent is trying to catch up with a backlog?

Your letter would be lost in the maelstrom.

Unless you have some spectacular writing credentials, that is, but chances are you do not.

If you're desperate to query, you can select those literary agents who tweet with abandon. If they're on vacation, you'll know about it. If their little bon mots suggest they're at work, then you can take a chance. Maybe you're after some young agent, newly minted and keen to make a big splash in the publishing ocean.

But just remember, it's the dead zone time of year and not much will happen. Spend the next two weeks polishing the query letter, making sure the manuscript is stellar, and for feck's sake write something else to keep yourself busy.

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