Wednesday, January 09, 2008


That's what I wish I was doing, actually. Stupid, stupid insomnia.

So things have been a bit slow at the office. That's not a huge surprise but it doesn't make for a lot of posts. The slowest times of the year for queries are, predictably, mid-December to mid-January, and the month of August. You know, when you (the writer) are on vacation or getting ready for vacation and the last thing on your mind is the query letter or finishing up the novel so you can write the query letter. While this shouldn't technically affect the response, I would submit during these periods, because chances are the mail piles are a little light and the agent isn't overwhelmed and the assistant has shorter hours.

No, the publishing industry is not asleep. Most of us are in the office, and some of us are even in the office on the actual holidays. The industry goes through cycles that adhere to the natural rhythm of the seasons. Also, we're all dreading doing our taxes and cursing ourselves for not implementing that better filing system of receipts that we promised ourselves we would do last year, just like everyone else.

So, questions? Haven't gotten a lot in the emailbox recently. Can't be that I've done them all.


Anonymous said...

I submitted at the beginning of December to an agency that promised 2-3 weeks on equeries. 'That should be done before Christmas or just after' I thought.

I just checked back on their website as I haven't heard anything yet, and their response time is now 12-15 weeks.


Unknown said...

Rejecter, I was the one who posted a comment several weeks ago to an older post of yours. I was asking about those multi-book deals and how that works as far as what is required to get a multi-book deal, how the payment works, etc.

I'd love to have even a short post on that aspect of deal-making.


Anonymous said...

Okay, I've got a question for you on a slow day.
I've been working on revisions with an editorial assistant at a major house. The EA's very dedicated to this story but her boss still has reservations and there's still no offer.
Would an agent give any more weight to the manuscript knowing all this back story? Should I be calling agents and saying, hey, I've been working with this EA, wanna rep me?

Anonymous said...

I hope you had a nice holiday. I have a question, although it may show how paranoid I am. Have you ever taken on a writer that had a great first novel but went down hill from there? I'm only curious because I keep reading most authors never sell their first work because they get better at the craft the more they work. I'm just curious if you have ever come across the opposite of that. Thank you for doing this. It's a huge help.

Anonymous said...

Well now you're just asking for it:

From things you've said in the past, it sounds like diet books are really hard to sell. Is that the case?

I had thought, for next year, I might base my NaNoWriMo project around essays on nutrition. (Each chapter of the "novel" would be around 1666 words long and cover some point like "carbohydrates".) I considered that somewhat more salable then the 50 thousand words I previously wrote about an immortal wizard in the far future fighting evil alien invaders. It was something of a disappointment to realize a book on nutrition would actually be less likely to pursue a life beyond the confines of my bottom desk-drawer.

Rick Bylina said...

ZZZZZZ...Yeah, I'm all over that, that is, after I edit the next 100 pages of my novel, find a job, rake the leaves out of the garden, wonder why my last query letters came back "DON'T EVER WRITE US AGAIN UNDER PROTECTION OF THE STALKER LAWS."

Melatonin hasn't worked for this insominiac, but you might give it a try.

Thanks for your blog. Lots of good stuff. And finally the answer: 42.

The Rejecter said...


I actually do not know the answer to your question. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Haha... The post above yours on my blog-reader is by a professional copy-editor who swears that one should NEVER submit in January because agents are supposed to be inundated with queries from writers making good on New Year's Resolutions!

Vive La Difference!

(If there was ever a time when the last thing on my mind was the query letter or finishing up the novel so I can write the query letter, I can't remember it. I thought that was what vacations were for?)

Thanks for a great blog. Cheers and sweet dreams!

K J Gillenwater said...

Oh, bummer! I was so curious to find out more. Oh, well....Thanks for answering regardless.

Aimlesswriter said...

I always reasoned the agent would be busier during those times of year so I always held off. Even if they are not busy with submissions I'd think their personal life might get busier.
PS: love the name of your blog! lol

Anonymous said...

Hey, Rejecter, since things are slow at the moment ... how about running your own version of Miss Snark's Crapometer? Slicing and dicing some query letters might make for some spicy entries, wouldn't you say?

Yes? No? ... yes? ;)

Anonymous said...

"...mid-December to mid-January, and the month of August. ...I would submit during these periods, because chances are the mail piles are a little light and the agent isn't overwhelmed and the assistant has shorter hours."

Interesting. The revealed wisdom always being shoveled out to us unpublished writers is that one must never submit during these periods, because (A) the agents will be on vacation, and (B) at year-end time, the mail service becomes slow.

The contradictory "advice" we're always getting would fill a book itself.

Anonymous said...

Alright, here's a question. If I have four agents looking at fulls, and it's been awhile (3 mos min) without hearing back, should I email them politely to ask the status (this I'm pretty sure it's okay to do ) and let them know other agents have the ms.? Or leave that last part off because it's not really info they didn't already expect? I just can't tell what level of competitive info agents really want.

Anonymous said...

So, I have a book finished, and the first chapter would make a great short story. If I submit it to you, should I tell you that I'm also shopping around the first chapter, or should I hold off until you've had a chance to look at it?


The Rejecter said...

Anon 10:26,

Yes, but be very clear that there's no offer on the table.

Katherine said...


I kind of stubled across your blog by accident when I did a Google search for "literary agents, blogger." I'd love to hear your thoughts about what makes for a good query letter and what makes for an awful one.

Also, how did you end up working at a literary agency? What was your past experience like?