Thursday, September 02, 2021

Now or not now?



Is now a good time to query agents in NYC?


First day of public school is September 13. I would imagine agents, editors and publishers with school age children are focused on opening school day and quite stressed over COVID.


So I thought to hold querying until September 20th, when hopefully all the uncertainty would have passed and things proved to be okay.


Should we consider these types of externals when we query?





For starters, not a lot of agents read their queries every day. They almost certainly never read a query the day it's sent.


Some are more "caught up" than others, but while I've responded to most queries sent to me through August, I have five or six I've set aside for a more personal reply, or to request the full.

 If you query me today, you might hear back in a day, but it might also be four weeks.

And you don't know who has kids, or even if NYC agents are IN NYC right now.


The best time to query is when your project is ready.


Trying to game out the best time to query will just postpone you pushing the send button.


 I've opined on this before



  1. This is one of those writer existential questions - do I send today? Am I ready? How do I know if I am ready? Is the agent ready? What if the agent hates me? What if my awkwardness comes across as stupidity? Have I been cancelled? I am not on social media so if I was cancelled, I wouldn't even know about it. I am pretty sure I am a horrible person according to the strict standards of the day so I should probably be cancelled. I mean I don't identify as anything but tired. But I am writer and I have to write. What do I do?
    The book is done. But is it really? What if there's a beer chasing my protagonist instead of a bear? What happened to the bear? Did it drink all the beer? Is that why the beer is chasing Axe instead of a bear? I just don't know. I am not sure. Should I query? Should I send to the requesting agent? She's been waiting since February. She said send when ready. What does that even mean? I don't know. I just don't know. She loved the first fifty pages so it will probably be ok, right? I am not sure. I need a lie down now. And maybe some tea.
    This is hard.

    1. I’m in the query trenches and may in fact *BE* an inebriated bear in need of a lie down.

      And I echo Karen - thank Shark for the Reiders in the Reef.

  2. Hey, E.M. Goldsmith...I'd be ROFL--except you totally captured the angst of writers today. This isn't's tragic. (OK, it's tragic AND funny.)

    But what you really need with your lie-down is not some tea. Maybe you need a beer. Or a bear.

    May I join you? I'll bring the bear.

  3. Yes, MHleader, do bring the intoxicated bear. That would be awesome. I have just the rock to hide under although it is within the borders of Carkoon. The smell of kale can get to be a bit much. I have candles. It helps.

    How did I get exiled to Carkoon during the pandemic? I can't even remember. Too many sins to keep track of.

  4. E.M. Goldsmith you made me laugh AND feel like I have angst company. I salute you and your inebriated bear! Just setting up a scented candle delivery to Carkoon now.

    Is my book ready - the question that never dies!

    P.S. In case anyone is keeping score, our tadpole situation at the end of summer is thus:

    Tadpoles at start: 30+
    Successful frogs gone to live long, happy lives in the park: 5
    Remaining tadpoles: 7
    Current four-legged air-breathing tadpoles awaiting tail absorption before release: 1

    I no longer wonder why amphibians are going extinct. They drown themselves, apparently on purpose. They jump too high and break their own legs. They even (reportedly) release chemicals into the water to kill each other. And let's not get started on the cannibalism. Yeesh.

    My husband, a reserved Chinese man who hates to say a bad word about anything or anyone, called it straight: "Whoever decided tadpoles make good pets for kids was just cruel."

    I'm only glad we don't have to see what happens to them after release.

    Maybe the kids shouldn't have named the first froglet Juliet. So tragic.

    They are cute, though.

  5. The best time to query is when your project is ready.
    Which is tomorrow... 🤔

    Trying to game out the best time to query will just postpone you pushing the send button.
    Yes. And? Your point? 😉

    And on a serious note, Carkoon has been officially declared a safe location by the WHO. Apparently, it was black-listed by the Black Death back in the 1600s as unsafe for viral habitation.

    And finally: what Elise said.

  6. Oh, E.M., that's a perfect expression of writerly anxiety!

  7. Thank goodness for the Reiders! When the world looks bleak, beneath fires, hurricanes, pandemics--we can always count on some much needed levity with inebriated bears! (Let's just hope they're not the ones trying to put out the fires!).

    And yes, feeling this one today. Looking at the referral query I sent and knowing that I should have gone another half page in my sample to get to the meat of the story...ah, well...que sira...sira...

  8. Thanks. Most helpful!

  9. Colin I love you. I just do. That seems exactly what happened with Carkoon. Inhabitable to omnivores and viruses. Too funny.

  10. I needed these comments today. Thanks Reef for putting a smile on my face :)

  11. When you are ready, query before some idle Tuesday whops you upside the head.

  12. And that was before Ida. Hope you are well (and dry) down there, Janet.

  13. I actually wrote a poem on this subject. :-)

  14. This is one of those writer's-angst topics that make me wonder if (some) writers know that (most) agents are adults. And that, as adults, they are (probably) capable of monitoring their own workload. We do not need to (try to) do it for them. Isn't managing our own work and lives -- along with the entire lives of our cast(s) of characters -- enough?

    Ready to query? Then query! Doesn't matter if it's back-to-school time or not, holidays or not, business hours or not, 14th purple moon in a row or not. Just. Query.

    And good luck. :0)


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