I’ve been told by one agent that writers should know to hold back any queries immediately before and during International Book Fairs. She particularly mentioned three: Budapest (April 23-26, 2015), London (April 14-16, 2015) and Frankfurt (Oct 14.18, 2015). Is this common practice, and, if so, how does a writer figure what other book fairs and conferences we need to avoid?
In this case, I avoided the month of April for sending out queries and sent them out in May but not have to remember to do the same in October and maybe other months.
I see this kind of advice on discussion boards all the time and it's utter bunk.
For starters, agents receive queries electronically these days and if they're busy at the London Book Fair, or Malice Domestic, or hosing out the caves on Carkoon, they just let the queries stack up till they have some free time.
You absolutely can not wait for "the right time" to query, because the right time to query me, and every other agent in this universe, was yesterday.
Trying to time your queries means only one thing: you're not sending your query when it's ready.
That's the ONLY standard by which to time a query: is it ready to go? If so, hit send.
If not, don't.
The ONLY exception to this is if an agent is closed to queries. Most agents who are closed to queries simply discard any that arrive and start with an empty inbox when they re-open. You'll notice most of these closures are triggered by workload, query volume, impending maternity leave. Nothing to do with LBF, BEA or any other industry event.
Not even Christmas.