Q: When’s the best time of year to submit to an agent?

calendar_agendaA: 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.

Related Posts:

Don’t assume we’ll read your manuscript right away

Manuscript Checklist

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

4 thoughts on “Q: When’s the best time of year to submit to an agent?

  1. Great Post about querying. I’d guess it’s safe to assume agents are as busy as us writers? Working full time and taking care of children, except their children consist of the books they represent as well xD.
    I would be interested in knowing anything about places to find agents of a specific genre (Adult Fantasy), if you have the time to direct me. It seems hard finding focus there, besides the twenty I have written down in my notebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best place is the acknowledgements of your favourite SF/F books. PW.org also has all agent interests. QueryTracker.com also records what agents request. And the usual suspects like Chuck Sambuchino’s guide to literary agents blog and book.


      1. Thanks for the info. I’m on a lot of agent sites but most only show MG or YA and not genre unless you look at each. Best wishes to you, and I’m enjoying your blog. Attempting one myself about parenting from the point of view of a father with full custody.


  2. This has been really informative. The worst thing for a new writer- as you would know – is submitting at the wrong time and possibly annoying an agent you have your eye on, at least that’s what goes through your head as you send queries out, being new and unsure of how things work. But, you’re right. If it good, its good any time of the year!

    Thanks again for this post

    Liked by 1 person

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