Are you going to send out queries during Christmas break?

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are finishing up their novels (some of them from Nano) and are going to query their brains out during their Christmas vacations.

Me?  Nope!  No Way!

First of all, even though I am done, I want to get one more round of good solid beta reads in.  But there is another reason.

I remember reading something a long time ago that made a ton of sence, and it really stuck with me.  Oddly enough, I came across the article by accident the other day.  (The link is below) Re-reading it again made me feel even better about my timeline skipping right over Christmas and starting to query in a few months.

Nathan made some really good points in this article.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Nathan Bransford, he used to be an agent, but recently left the agenting business and is now an author.

Nathan said there are not any good or bad times to query, with two exceptions.  You can read the full article below, but for those of you who are terrified of little links, here it is in a nutshell:

Don’t query if you know the agent is out of the office. Also don’t query around major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.

The reason is that many people have off, and a lot of them are using their time to send out queries… to agents that are not there because they are on vacation, or are leaving for vacation.  This means the agents are rushing through their submissions so they can finish before they leave, or they are just coming back to a pile of work that they have to RACE THROUGH to get caught up.

As Nathan said “take it from me — you don’t want to be part of a massive query pile when an agent is feeling a time crunch.”

“Ideally, sure, we’d give all queries equal time, consider every one similarly, whether we’re reading a pile of 10 or a pile of 500.  Ideally. 

“Reality: human nature is human nature.  When faced with a mountain that feels like it won’t move, you start moving a little quicker, take fewer chances, etc. etc.  I really aspire to keep a constant pace regardless of my workload, but it’s hard not to adjust how many partials you’re requesting based on how much work awaits.”

“Just don’t do it.  Avoid the weeks around major holidays.  It’s better to be part of a trickle than a flood. “

I think these are sound words of advice, especially since he wrote this when he was still an agent.

So, are you querying now?  Are you planning on querying next week?   Please, by all means do!  (She grins and giggles with her evil witch laugh)

I will be more than happy to tip-toe over you lightly in a few months if you are sitting in the slush pile.

Please check out Nathan Bransford’s site, and his first novel, Jacob Wonderbar.

Nathan Brandsford:  Is there a best time to Query?

12 responses to “Are you going to send out queries during Christmas break?

  1. I love the reality you write this blog post in… such a good dose of getting real and not wasting precious writing time for having bad timing!
    I am looking SO forward to ROW80 Round 1…. glad to know we will be writing together!

  2. Never really thought about this before, but it makes total sense! I’m not at the point of being ready to query yet, but when I am, I’ll remember this. I do like using time off the day-job to get writing-related tasks done … when I’m working I make time to write and that’s about it! But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t get the queries ready to roll during a holiday break and then send them out at a better time. Thanks for the food for thought!

  3. i might be superstitious, but i’m waiting until about february. there are a few agents i am supposed to follow up with from conferences, and i can imagine their inboxes being quite full after new years eve!!

  4. Great post. I’m not ready to send my query letter yet, but it has made me think about the timing. Good advice as always.

  5. Woot! A GREAT reason (read excuse) for me not to have my ms ready to query by the end of 2011.

    I feel much better about not reaching that lofty goal–yet. Today I get goals ready for 2012. “Query polished mss” will be on that list. Yes. The extra “s” was intentional.

    It was wonderful getting to know you and your blog voice in 2011, Jennifer. Here’s to your book blurb and contract in 2012!

  6. I’ll keep this in mind when the time comes, Thanks for the great advice, have a fantastic Christmas

  7. I’ll be tiptoeing with you. 🙂

  8. Great advice. I love Nathan’s blogs. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I’ll see you soon.

  9. I wish I’d read this two days ago. I sent out 20 queries–three were rejected within 8 hours (one within five minutes!).

    I think I’ll wait on the next 20.