The Truth About Publishing’s Summer Slowdown

Since today is officially the first day of Summer I thought it appropriate to address the rumors about publishing’s summer slowdown. You know, similar to the slowdown over the holidays and probably Spring break too. Honestly, if you listen to the gossip it would seem there are only two months of the year that people in publishing actually work.

If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a few weeks. Your critique partners and everyone on Twitter will start talking about how summer is slow in publishing and nothing really happens. Some will even encourage you to wait until September to start submitting. They’ll also tell you that you only have until November 1 before the holiday slowdown kicks in.

While I agree that the lazy, hazy days of an NYC summer can definitely slow even the frantic pace of the city that never sleeps, I disagree with the notion that nothing ever happens in Summer. In fact, I can look historically at July and August and proclaim them some of the best months for BookEnds sales. While things do slow down, they don’t stop. Summer is time for vacations and travel and postponed or canceled meetings which means it might take longer for an editor to get all of the people you need to get on board to make an offer, but the offers still come. The beauty of the cancellation of all of these meetings is it leaves more time for the rest of us to catch up on those submissions we’ve been dying to read. It gives us an excuse to throw the lawn chair up on our roofs to catch some sun while working and it’s when some of my favorite sales happen.

So go ahead and slow down this Summer, but I’m going to use these lazy days to catch up and find some real gems in my inbox.

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5 comments

  1. Interesting, I never thought of it like this. Summer is the time, I would think publishers would have more time to leisurely look and comb through potential best sellers. I’m curious, do more children’s books sell in the summer?

    I stopped submitting my manuscript, as I put it out too early. Took the feedback, though mostly positive and ran with it. Meaning a total revamp of the last chapter. It’s an early reader. It ended to abruptly and needed something more. It’s done now and waiting on my illustrator to wrap up a few more pics. So with all this, I will submit this summer and hope that Harvey doesn’t destroy me like last year. Let’s just say the next book in the series is a bit more scary, as we live in hurricane alley.

    Much appreciated for the summer thoughts. When I’m not flip-flopping around our touristy village, I’ll be writing and getting a my new website ready to launch the new and improved Pixie And The Green Book Mystery.

    Coraline

  2. Sorry to post another question in your comments section, but while I know you recently put up an email for questions, I can’t find the post. Searching in the search bar brought up nothing. And I don’t see it listed in “submissions.” So, here I go.

    Lately, I am seeing more requests, especially from publishers, for a one-three paragraph synopsis. This to me seems more like a summary, blurb, or query. I finally got a handle on how to write both a full and short synopsis, to hit all of the major plot points and emotional arcs, and now this. I’ve done several searches and found no examples of how to write a one paragraph synopsis. Often there will be an article titled this, but once you click in, it’s a summary.

    As for short synopsis examples, they usually run about two pages double spaced.

    Have you run across the one-three paragraph synopsis request in your pitches to publishers and if so, any examples you can share?

    Thanks!

    1. What I did was to imagine my 67,000 word novel on the inside of a dust jacket.
      Woo-hoo! 56 words.
      Then I thought about myself – you know, the stuff where authors write third-person descriptions of their glamorous lives:
      Suzie Schmerringer divides her time between homes in San Francisco and Nantucket. She and her cocker-doodle-hound-terrier, Bo, enjoy long walks on exotic beaches.
      Woo-hoo again! 25 words.
      Then I thought: Gee … Maybe this is too wordy. So I eliminated the part about Bo (who, to be honest, died 16 years ago and never set foot on an exotic beach because of a teensy-weensy bowel issue I won’t get into here, but ask your vet about parasites in cocker-doodle-hound-terriers).
      And then I thought: Gee, again … Maybe 56 words about my book is also too wordy. So I polished and pared and perfected its description to a single word: The.
      Yes, writing a short synopsis is very difficult – Nicole Parton

  3. I used to help judge the early rounds of a contest for one of the author groups. One of the reasons I loved it so much is I always had an inbox full of novels mostly from authors I didn’t know to sit in the sun with.
    I have one of those huge round camp chairs, perfect for sitting in the sun or curling up in on an evening around the bbq or a small camp fire.

    I don’t know if I could do your job, I’m not sure I have the patience, but I do envy your inbox.
    Hope you all have a lovely, and lucky summer. I’m planning a lazy one, then back to uni to start an MA in creative writing.

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