Agent Monday: Is Summer a Good Time?

Girls playing at the poolHappy Agent Monday, everyone!  I hope you’ve done at least a FEW summery things so far.  Like had a barbecue, walked barefoot, sipped iced tea with fresh mint, taken an evening walk and looked at the night sky… If you haven’t yet, well get moving!  Summer is a good time to slow down, take a deep breath and just relax.  And word has it that NY publishing does just that every year around this time. So does anything happen in the publishing world in the summertime?  And is summer a good time to query?

Writers often ask me stuff like this.  Let me just say that there is SOME difference between summer and the rest of the year. When I pitch to editors, they are more likely to have “I’m away till” messages on their voice mail, or to be just about to leave on vacation. But that doesn’t mean that things aren’t happening. Trust me, they ARE happening.

For me as an agent, I try to grab those editors before they go off on those trips.  Guess what they read on the plane, on the beach, etc.? Yup. Submissions.  And summer is also a great time to grab those editors who, because the general office is a bit more quiet, are hanging out in their own office with slightly fewer meetings and slightly more time to catch up on things.  It’s a nice time to grab a lunch with them or a coffee or just spend a few more minutes on the phone to connect.

And publishing doesn’t stop. It never stops.  Maybe before the recession hit and made us all a bit more hungry, there was a time when things pretty much shut down (I can’t tell you for sure, cuz I wasn’t a part of that world then). Maybe that’s why writers still think: “Oh, don’t bother to send anything out in the summer.”  That’s old news now.  Now manuscripts are actively being pitched and read and offers made and contracts negotiated.  It’s a busy and productive time.

And guess what?  My inbox has thinned out.  There are less queries there, and I bet that’s true with most agents. Writers, I think, are waiting for September. Um, why? So you can be buried amid all the other querying writers who decide it is clever to wait until then?

Tropical Drink by a Swimming PoolOkay, it’s true that at the end of August some agencies actually close, or that is a favored time for an agent to take a vacation. But I’d keep on sending out those queries. After all, even agents have to read something while they are sipping those drinks with those fancy little paper umbrellas in those frosty glasses.

Things have definitely changed over the past 7 years in the world of publishing. Big changes and not so long ago. That means that some of the old wisdoms that are still hanging around aren’t as wise as they used to be.

So enjoy your summer. Wiggle your toes in the sand. But keep on querying!

*Marie is an Associate Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City.  To keep up with all her posts, subscribe to her site by clicking on the “Subscribe to Marie’s site here” link located on her page on the upper left margin.