Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is this a good time of year to send a submission? by Terry Burns

You know that I am often asked a question that I feel it would be good to answer to others as well. One of my clients just asked such a question. Is this time of the year a good time to send a proposal?

The answer is yes and no. 

The publishing industry pretty much goes dead between Thanksgiving and after the first of the year, at least for the larger houses. However, a lot of editors use that time to catch up on their reading. But they have a lot of trouble moving on something because they can't get the necessary meetings together to make acquisitions because of holiday scheduling. So they are reading but probably not buying? That's how it tends to work.

That means they are probably only responding to the ones they are going to pass on. It's a time for cleaning off their desk and narrowing it down to the ones they want to try and move on when everybody gets back to work. It's a good time to get something read, but we don't want them responding because a response would probably be negative.

That's what I mean by yes and no.


Rick Barry said...

Terry, should that truth influence an author's decision of when to submit to an agent? Your post seems to speak more directly about editors' schedules, but I'm sure that agents attend Christmas parties and other festivities too. Does submitting to an agent in December put a m.s. at risk of falling into the "Let's clear off this desk" rush?

(Other agents, feel free to chime in!)

Terry Burns said...

Hi Rick, an agent doesn't usually have to wait on a 'committee' to meet to make a decision on a manuscript. Speaking for myself, I don't schedule conferences or workshops between Thanksgiving and New Year so my schedule is a little less hectic and I can usually do some catch up.

Anne Love said...

Thanks for sharing Terry. I'd wondered about this after ACFW last year. I had my submission ready by Thanksgiving, but something seemed to say "just wait". While the waiting did me the good God intended, it didn't help pass on my submission. But I still wondered about the timing.

Anonymous said...

Having said that, is there a better time of year than others?

Terry Burns said...

That depends somewhat on the editor, but if they are one that uses the time that they can't get a committee together to acquire that means they are probably clearing their desk of those that aren't contenders. If that is the case they are starting the year with more of an empty inbox. But others? Not so much.