Taking the Summer Off
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Aug 18 2011
In your opinion, is it better for an agent to wait till after the summer to send a novel out on submission? Is it a myth that the publishing industry basically shuts down in August? Are there any advantages in NOT waiting?
I don’t think there’s a universally correct answer to this. I think it depends what your agent knows about the editors she wants to submit to and your agent’s own schedule. If your agent has plans to be out of town maybe it is best she hold off on submitting. I don’t know that publishing “shuts down” in August. Truthfully, I had a crazy two weeks between RWA and the July 4th weekend when I had offers on the table and it was taking weeks to finalize them because of RWA, editor vacations, and the holiday. It happens. It’s summer. All of that being said, we’ve had many years where August resulted in our largest sales month of the year, primarily because it is so quiet and so many do vacation that editors have more time to actually catch up on their reading and hopefully find something they can get excited about.
When it comes to August, like many things, there’s no right or wrong. A book could easily be read quickly by an editor who finds a relaxed schedule in August or sit and fall to the bottom of big piles because an editor happens to be away for two weeks and your material arrived during that time.
If it helps, I work in publishing and my days are incredibly busy right now. We have to have sales materials ready for all our Spring books in the next few weeks. There's slower times but no such thing as slow times.
I would think it would be a benefit to shop a book to a publishing company when they're less focused on future books and have more time to consider but I don't know. FYI, I'm in nonfiction.
I've seen things get busier in summer in the past five years. But everyone still takes vacations and things do lighten up. In June I always contact editors to see when they are going to be away so I don't bother them while they're gone.
Great! Thanks for post.
Over the past few weeks I've been going through all the backlogs of this blog. Thanks for all these wonderful bits of advice from an agent's point of view, as well as the inviting-yet-business-y tone you convey in all your posts!
Good points. Agents definitely need time for vacation and time with their family. Plus, if agents/publishers have kiddos, then they probably want to get in some quality time with them before they head off to school. And, of course, there is always back to school shopping! 😉
Sarah Joy, an associate agent-in-training.
I am finding that things don't come to halt in the summer like they used to. When I was a kid, everything seemed to stop for the summer – that was time for vacation and family. But now, people are constantly on the go and a working vacation has become the norm. You should submit when you feel ready and let the chips fall where they may.
Wonderful! Nice post!