Monday, November 30, 2009

We Wish You a Query Christmas. (Not Really).

There's nothing merry about querying around the holidays. I keep finding blogs that say it's a terrible idea. Okay, not "terrible," in that exact word, but agents who blog are nice, and nice people aren't going to say, "Stop querying, you dummy. Wait until after the holidays." 

Agents see the tinsel, too. It makes them want to creep out of their slush-filled caves and have a little holiday cheer. Their families, friends, and associates are having parties and get-togethers. They (probably) like to read-- not manuscripts-- but published books they don't have to edit, with a mug of hot chocolate, wearing cheesy holiday gifts like Snuggies and cozy socks (Old Navy had cozy socks on sale last week... sooo comfy!). In any case, they are just like you and me! Or maybe just like me, and I definitely don't take subbing jobs around the holidays. It's just too crazy. I'm too busy! (Sorry Ms. X, your class is awesome and I'm sorry you've got bronchitis, but I have all this holiday cheer going on!).

You still may not believe me. I have to admit, I hadn't thought about it before. So, in an effort to help out my writerly Followers, here are reasons not to query until after January:
  • NaNo writers. Not you guys... you guys used NaNo as a jump start to your novel, or to finish a novel, or even to polish up a novel you'd already written. I'm talking the crazy kind of NaNo writer, as soon as they hit fifty thousand words, is writing up query letters to send to agents, without one moment's revision. And if that's you, I mean no offense. Maybe you'll prove me wrong. But you might want to check out what agents think on the subject:
  • NaNo writers. Again. This time, you guys! Yes, the hardworking writer who used NaNo to revise and polish up that existing novel. Now it's ready-- really ready-- and lots of you are sending out those query letters, adding to agents' already high slush, and mixing yourself in with the crazy NaNo types.
  • Writers have time to query. It might seem like a weird reason, but with time off, writers who have been putting off querying finally have the time to sit down and research agents. This means, all those writers who finally have time to query are adding themselves to that NaNo slush pile, (the slush pile that might have also become an agent's "let me race through this so I can get to that holiday party" pile). Here's Nathan's take on it:
  • Agents would rather us wait. If you aren't convinced, read for yourself: 

So for anyone who didn't think about all this and sent out queries recently, have some cookies. Or pie. Pie is big around this time of year. And hey, I'm sure some of you will find exceptions to this, and agents who are asking for NaNo work in December. Here's one:

What do you think? Are you going to query against all odds? Will January be just as bad, with New Year's resolution-types filling agent inboxes? Does it even matter when we send out our queries?


  1. I read that from Agent in the Middle and laughed. Apparently, erotica can be written in one month and nothing says Christmas like breasts--I mean books and ti---uhh--tinsel. Although, there is always the ass--the donkey of the nativity. I don't think enough books have been written about that subject--asses, I mean.

  2. I would never be one of THOSE people who write the book and shoot off a query the next day. That's just wrong! And my book isn't even done...but I could be one of THOSE OTHER people (you know, send off a query for an unfinished novel.) I'm sure the agents would love that!

  3. It makes sense not to intrude on somebody's holiday with a query of course. But before I knew all this stuff, I sent out the same number of queries every month. And I got my first agent and my first book deal in the two weeks before Christmas. Exceptions that prove the rule, I guess.

  4. Wendy- Oh yeah, baby!! I like this naughty side of you. I want to send your sisters a link to this post now. HA! But to join in the holiday double entendres... there's nothing like books filled with ho-ho-HO's, chest-to-the-nuts, and the humble donkey (you know I don't say ass. Ass is crass). Unless you're ready for some serious junior high humor, PLEASE don't get me started on turkey breastification. I am a complete lunatic this time of year when people ask if I enjoy breast or thigh.

    Melane- Yeah seriously! We should make a list of agent pet peeves and see how many of them our queries can fulfill. That'll go over awesome lol!

    Anne- See? That's why you rock. I absolutely adore exceptions to the rule scenarios, especially in the writing industry. They just sparkle.

  5. I was barely aware of NaNo till this year. I read that some 120,000 people did stories last year. I can just imagine the avalance of queries, whether they're sent in December or later next year. Blogging and NaNo really have developed a lot of new writers.

    I was thinking maybe I'd try it next year to start off a new book. This year I wanted to get back into one that I've left hanging for a while. And speed wasn't going to help because I needed to double check notes a lot.

  6. Wow, Mary. 120,000 makes me feel faint. I don't know whether I'll ever try it. I always feel like I'm going through a NaNo month. Squirreling away to find time to write is my modus operandi.

  7. Good advice, Diana, although I am (sadly) in no position to be sending out queries yet.

    Oh, and you and Wendy are very naughty girls when you hang out together. Very naughty. Just sayin'

  8. But... darn it! I want to query. I'm getting all excited about Honor again. Sniff. Sniff. I want to query in December. Waiting until January is way too long.

    Of course, by no stretch of the imagination is Honor erotica--to warm your cold winter nights.

    Speaking of which, I find the song "Baby, it's cold outside" to be on the verge of racy. Okay, I'm off tangent.

    Plus, as you said, those with New Year's resolutions will be churning them out in January. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

  9. Sesquip- Yes, we'll get our heads out of the gutter. You won't tell Santa, will you? And don't worry about not being ready to query yet. You will be, just keep at it!

    Wendy- "Baby, it's cold outside" is so cute! I love that song :) "Honor, it's cold outside" ... No? As for querying, thinking about it-- I would rather go up against New Year's Resolutioners than all that holiday excitement. But then again, Anne's story is heartening. Ultimately, as I always end up saying, go with your gut.

  10. Good advice Diana. Everyone should be able to enjoy Christmas. Also wouldn't want to be muddled in the crazy Nano's. I'm jealous of all those who finished their rough draft in a month - it makes my head whirl, but I'd be shocked if any of those drafts were even close to really being done.

    Baby it's cold outside - snuggle up with the one you love. Although maybe it's not cold for you Diana. Does it snow where you are. Christmas without snow seems very strange.

  11. Hi Mary! It's always nice to see you :) Nope, it's not cold at all. It was a little over 80 degrees yesterday! I live in the eastern-most area of LA county, so probably one of the hotter parts (about an hour inland from the coast). The beach is always at least ten degrees cooler than the valley. I probably answered your other question, but no, it doesn't snow where I live. We drive up to wrightwood for snow on the weekends (also about an hour away). Unless we actually want to do the cabin-thing, then we drive up to Big Bear. Anyway, I guess you could say I'm centrally located. An hour from the beach, an hour from the snow, and an hour from Disneyland :)

  12. That's a tough one... when to query. I don't know if there is any good time! Thanks for all the links in your post, Diana. I had fun reading them all.

  13. Hi Bethany! Something tells me you're right... there must never be a "good" time to query. I'm glad you enjoyed the links :)

  14. Diana P....what does...querying....mean? :) hehhehehe!