Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Input needed

As we close in on Christmas, and the new year, it's easy for me to get caught up in clearing out all my queries and fulls. Hose out the place, ring in the new year with no backlog.*****

But, it dawned on me that y'all would be GETTING rejections at the holiday if I did that.  (I figure if it's good news you won't mind if I call on Christmas Day, right?)

Give me some guidance here.

Would you rather get the dreaded form rejection sooner even if it's the holiday season, or later?

Here's a survey to tab the results:





**** oh chummy ones, how can you think that this might mean just blanket rejection? No no. Every query gets read. This is just about spending a bit MORE time to read everything and reply before the end of the year. I've been known to let things stack up for a week or two if I'm busy torturing my clients with revisions and such.

47 comments:

Cheryl said...

If I'm submitting queries the last quarter of the year, there's pretty good odds I might receive a rejection around the holidays.

Thank goodness my liquor cabinet is fully stocked this time of year. :)

Sandra Cormier said...

I leaned precariously toward Yes, since I hate the sound of crickets more than the final clunk of a query door slammed shut.

But... during the Holiday season, our minds are otherwise occupied, with cleaning, decorating, planning scrumptious menus and warding off family squabbles. I'm not sure I want a rejection to top it all off like a steaming turd on a pumpkin pie.

Wait till January, when I'll have an excuse to put off that new diet and drown my sorrows in leftover shortbread cookies soaked in whiskey.

Melinda said...

I'd rather hear the news, good or bad. At least at the holidays there is egg nog and friends to cheer me up!

jkwise1 said...

Knowing is always better than not knowing. Mostly...probably...

Charity Bradford said...

Wow, that's quite the bunch of yeses. Waiting is worse than the rejection at this point. I'd rather know that its a no so I can stop checking my email and actually enjoy spending time with my family.

We can all start fresh next year. Writers included. :)

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Jo Eberhardt said...

Sooner is better than later. Besides, at Christmas I can drown my sorrows over and over and claim it's "holiday cheer".

amybethinverness.com said...

It's the not knowing that hurts the most. If I sent out a query at this time, I would hope for a reply in the usual amount of time.

TperiodKyle said...

I think every letter from an agent, even a rejection is another step closer to publication. Just because you won't have that agent to represent you doesn't mean you aren't closer to your goal. I say this with such positivity probably because I am a couple of months from the query stage as I am editing, so I may be looking at the query process with rose colored glasses.

angelhorn.com said...

I've been rejected so many times it doesn't bother me anymore. In fact I think I'd rather wait until AFTER Christmas for an acceptance since so many acceptances I've had have turned into nothing.

Elissa M said...

I know I'm going to get rejections and lots of them, especially at the query stage. I don't need you to worry about my delicate ego. In the case of an agent considering a full manuscript, well, I'd rather get the rejection before New Year's, because starting the year off with a rejection would be a little depressing.

Sarah L. Blair said...

Agreed. I'd much rather know, good or bad. Wondering one way or the other is the most distracting thing ever.
Vacuum. Check email. Load dishwasher. Check email. Eat chocolate. Check email. Fold clothes and watch reruns of Buffy. Check email. At least having a query out helps me get a lot of housework done...

angeliquejamail said...

I think I'd want to know sooner rather than later, but only if the rejection was honestly earned and not simply being sent out to clear off an agent's desk. If the ms being rejected would have been rejected regardless of the time of year, then yes, get it over with. If it's being chucked out hastily without real consideration, then no, that doesn't seem right.

But then perhaps I should assume in this case that these form letter rejections would have been sent out regardless of the existence of a backlog? If so, then be done with it for both the writer and the agent!

Happy holidays.

Michael Seese said...

I'd want to know so that I could make a New Year's resolution to GET EVEN WITH YOU!!!

Just kidding. Seriously, my company has "use it or lose it" vacation. As a result, I'm off work the last two weeks. If I get a "no" response, I have time on my hands to begin another round of queries.

My $0.03.

Keisha Martin said...

To me it doesn't matter (although this answer is easy because I am on a query hiatus until I polish my novel) When I queried way too early I would get queries two-five minutes afterwards sometimes the queries will go to spam, again this is something writers cannot control the fact I got my form letters meant I got an answer right away rather than not hearing back which could be a no as well,the holidays is like a thick haze, that becomes so much much better with a few nice beverages close by. Happy Holidays=o)

Aimee L. Salter said...

Please send them now - and tell your friends to do the same. Pull that band-aid off fast so I can breathe through the holidays.

Pleeeeeeeease....

*Blink*

What, just me on that one?

kdjames.com said...

I just read Wendig's blog giving 25 reasons why rejections are GOOD FOR YOU. I'll be sorely disappointed if I don't have a few in my stocking come Christmas morning, never mind that I haven't yet queried. In fact, I'm now considering sending my grocery list to every agent out there, just to ensure a good healthy dose of swift and bracing rejections.

Seriously, writers are neurotic quivering heaps of insecurity 24/7/365. Mere holidays don't make us more or less so. There is no good or bad time.

Still, I'd avoid Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but only because we're likely to be drun-- er, that is, cooking huge complicated meals and won't even remember getting that email.

Besides, for most of us the "holiday season" means one day off work (if we're lucky and if it doesn't fall on a Sunday-- oh hell) and all the other days are just work days.

But it's very nice of you to worry. Really. Nice.

Mystery Robin said...

I don't know. In previous years I'd have said yes, for sure, just send something. But I've gotten rejections on my anniversary (Dec. 18th) and Christmas Eve and as stoic as I feel it's still tough. I mean, the onus of that is on the writer to buck up and deal or not query over the holidays, so I'd never put that responsibility on the agent. I'm just saying that if it's a couple of days before Christmas and you're on the fence, it doesn't hurt to let the writer hope over Christmas.

Travis Erwin said...

There is never a good time to crush a dream or a bad time to offer representation, steak, or carnal pleasure.

Therese said...

I voted yes because I got a rejection the day after Christmas and since I totally love the holidays, I was in a good mood. And since it was the day after Christmas and the fun had been had by all and the house was still "clean" and the fridge stocked with the remains of goodies...

My attitude that day was, OK, time to start something new.

New year, new book, works for me. :D

Happy Holidays to all and celebrate whatever makes you happy.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

The waiting is the hardest part--Tom Petty.
The rest of us seem to mostly agree.

Cynthia Ivers said...

No - I'd rather remain delusional until January. It's enough I'm forced to eat my Mother's fruitcake every Christmas. A form rejection would send me over the edge. :-)

Trisha said...

I'm definitely in the "sooner is better" camp, so I say yes!

Bronwyn said...

I didn't know aspiring authors took holidays... I would want to know sooner rather than later but to soften the blow, feedback would be greatly appreciated rather than a form rejection =)

Bron.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

Sooner is better than later BUT – we all assume we'll be getting a yes. Even knowing the odds, no one sends in a query thinking, "Well, this'll get a nice fat 'no.'" We all think we'll be "the one."

Kathi said...

Absolutely yes. It's going to sting any time of year. If I sent out queries close to the Holidays and *didn't* want to risk an answer during that time, my bad for querying. Plus, look at the incentive going into the New Year!

Nathan Rudy said...

I say send them when you decide. There's no reason why it would hurt more a week before Xmas (or two weeks before New Year's) than a week into January. Bad news is part of the business, and it releases you to pursue something new.

Leah said...

To be perfectly honest, I'm holding off on querying until after the new year...but I did send a preliminary one recently, got what was actually a super-nice rejection, and was incredibly grateful to not have to wait! While I like the anticipation of the whole "will they or won't they" game, I'd rather know the outcome.

Thanks for asking us, though. :) Very cool of you to do.

Phil Hall said...

I can't answer this without knowing more more piece of information: by "clearing the decks" do you mean just blanket rejections sight-unseen because you're swamped and didn't have time to review the submitted material?

wry wryter said...

As a writer I like the decks clear for the New Year as well. The last thing I want cluttering my mind is a shark circling my bait.

Bite me baby or swim away.

If I still have to fish in January so be it. Maybe my hook will be more enticing then.

Josin L. McQuein said...

It never bothered me to get rejections on holidays. The only one that really made me arch an eyebrow came on April Fool's Day. I wondered if the agent in question either didn't pay attention to dates at all or if she had a vicious sense of irony.

Sharon Cullen said...

We all understand that a rejection is possible. It's not the rejection that kills us - it's the waiting. If I had to wait an extra few weeks because of the holidays I think I'd tear my hair out.

SwiftScribbler said...

I'd much rather know. The rejection hurts less than the hope.

Jamie said...

As long as you don't use a holiday-themed stamp I think you're okay.

Ali Trotta said...

I would rather know than have to wait, especially through the holidays. The waiting is the worst thing for me.

Also, Janet -- I know I've said this before, but thank you. You're helping people to learn this business, myself included. And it is very clear how much time and energy you dedicate to not only your clients, but to writers in general. Everyone who read this blog is better for it. I know that sounds terribly mushy, but that's me: brown hair, brown eyes, and a heaping of sentimental. ;-) Seriously, thank you.

Charley said...

I was going to join in with another comment voting for yes, but others have already cited great reasons for the same vote, so I decided I didn't need to write you a comment after all, so I'm not going to, so this comment doesn't actually exist; it's all a figment of your imagination.

(heh, heh)

Sheila JG said...

Sooner. But, for a full request, a bit of "why this didn't work for me" would be a nice holiday gift. I know agents don't want to get into a give-and-take with aspiring authors, but form rejections on fulls are a tad bit Grinchy, in my opinion. Not that the agent owes the writer any explanation, it would just be nice.

TC Avey said...

I'm just wanting another shot to submit, I have been working really hard on my query (I admit to many mistakes on my first try) but I don't think I get another chance to wow you, especially with the pressure of the holidays coming up. However, taking a page from Michael Hyatt, I'm going to ask anyway: Can I re-submit (either before the holidays or after the New Year)?

Kathryn Elliott said...

Rip it off like a Band-Aid. Quick sting, but you move on.

Matthew Masucci said...

It's business. I'm not a baby. I can take it.

I love the holidays, but it's just another day. If that's when agents have time to catch up, that's when I'd get my response.

If I didn't want a rejection during the holidays, I should plan my query times better.

That being said, release the Kraken!

AdriAnne said...

I once received a rejection on my birthday. I could have done without that. But as long as you don't send out rejections ON Christmas day, which would be pretty sadistic, I'd agree that sooner is better.

Judith Gonda said...

No news is worse than no. But why not instill some holiday spirit in your rejections?
My suggestions:
"Jingle Bells, your query smells, Santa hates your plot," or
"On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a rejection on my query."
and, one more:
"Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Sharky came to say, "Author, you can't really write, you get a big fat 'no' tonight."
I got more where those came from (unfortunately, haha).
Happy Holidays, Janet! Happy New Year to all! And to all a good write. (Stop. Me. Now).

Steve Stubbs said...

Send them all out in a batch on Christmas day. With a Scrooge icon and a link to an audio recording of evil cackling.

One additional suggestion: yah, yah, I know you don't do coaching to the hopeless. BUT if your form letter included a form statement of what you DO want, a sentient reader could compare and contrast that with whatever s/he actually sent. It would be a form letter, so the writing time is only invested once. I like a sentence from Dean R. Koontz (this is from memory): "I am sorry, but epistolary literary Gothic novels set on Mars in the seventeenth century are not selling well at the moment." If the querier sent a comedy about a multiple/serially transgendered vampire from the Lost Atlantis running unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York (even though such a person would seem to be the ideal candidate based on historical experience) then he could see: (1) it is not set on Mars (even though NY is a lot like another planet), (2) it is not the seventeenth century, and (3) fill in the etc. The downside is, you might receive a flood of perfect queries, all aimed at your list with laser guided precision, and each pointing to a book guaranteed to be accepted instantly by whatever editor you sent it to and headed certainly for the bestseller list.

Your tax man would go insane accounting for all the money. You would go bald trying to figure out what to spend it all on. Agenting would instantly become an impossible task. Don't do it, no, no, no.

Oh yeah, and Merry Christmas.

Joelle said...

I'm the first to say writers need to toughen up, but it's pretty rough to get no on Christmas Eve and I have gotten them, and so have plenty of writers I know. They didn't bother me much, but emotions run extra high around the holidays and sometimes something like that is just the final straw, you know?

The new year is not so bad because everyone sort of wants to start fresh. One of my writing groups always has a contest for the first sale and the first rejection of the year and the first rejection always shows up in the first 48 hours.

I would say getting a yes during the holidays might be even worse than no. Twice I've been through the yes process and it is STRESSFUL even though it's wonderful and exciting.

I say, do the work but hold of on hitting send until January 2nd.

srhrprofessional said...

I would rather know sooner than later, but maybe avoid Christmas Eve/Day. I don't need that coal in my stocking! :)

christwriter said...

Send them out. Please. Please please please please please for the love of god, send them out.

I queried an agency last summer, they requested materials and, in reply to my follow-up in september--the last follow-up I got a reply to--they told me I'd be hearing from them soon. This was in September. No reply to any follow-up letters, although I DO think the agency is still alive and active (They've sent rejections to other people this month). And while I really REALLY REALLY want to be represented by this agency, my biggest wish for Christmas this year is for them to tell me "no." Because then this phase will finally be OVER and I can move on. Long, drawn out pain is a lot worse than short and sharp.

(P.S. is it polite to follow up every two weeks? Especially if you waited a month after sending the initial materials? And how long should somebody wait until you write an agency off, if they've requested materials?)

Phil Hall said...

" **** oh chummy ones, how can you think that this might mean just blanket rejection? No no. Every query gets read. This is just about spending a bit MORE time to read everything and reply before the end of the year. I've been known to let things stack up for a week or two if I'm busy torturing my clients with revisions and such."

Ok, then, with that info, I say YES. Better to know than not, you know?

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Absolutely. Get rid of that nagging sense of hope that goes along with every submission and put it out of its misery.

Seriously, rather than refreshing my inbox and thinking no news could be good news, better to kill it off and let it move on down the road. January is always a bit of a letdown anyway (at least for me) and with the holidays there are distractions (and cookies and alcohol) to help smooth over rough spots.

So, clean out that inbox! Terri