A: The pace of publishing changes between seasons. Agents have to be sensitive to the time of year when submitting to projects to editors. Book Fair months are far too busy–April (London Book Fair) and October (Frankfurt Book Fair) for adult publishing and March (Bologna) for children’s publishing. The summer is another time of year that raises questions. Agents are usually catching up on their reading, but not submitting to editors because publishers rarely have acquisition meetings in August. We’re all gearing up for the fall literary season. And it’s safe to assume that publishing shuts down for December holidays.
So when should writers be submitting to agents?
Realistically, you can be querying us at any time of the year. (However, some agents close to queries at various points so check their websites for details.) We look at our slush pile all year long. Some times of year when we’ll be slower at getting back to you are book fair months, when we’re at conferences, and the December holiday season. The summer can actually be a good time to submit to agents because we’re catching up on our reading anyway. I signed two authors last summer.
There are no odds at play and no games to ‘win.’ It’s about writing a great manuscript and querying the agents that are most likely to represent you (i.e. agents who represent what you write and are actively looking for new authors.) A well-written, targeted query will always stand out.
No matter what time of year, the important thing is that your manuscript is READY.