Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November observations

It's been a different kind of November this year. Here's something I learned from my pool of author friends, and it seems to be true. Agents and publishers make decisions around Thanksgiving.

I'm not saying they don't make decisions all year round, but as writers, we sometimes get it in our heads that no one works in November and December. At all. Which simply isn't true.

I just heard from a fellow writer that her manuscript she submitted to a publisher nearly a year ago was accepted the other day. And another author reminded me that he signed with his agent a week before Thanksgiving. And another author recently signed with a big house last week. There are more stories than that, these are just a few.

I've been speculating as to why this is, and all I can come up with is National Novel Writing Month. As writers, we tend to view November as our sit-down-and-write-a-ton month. It's therapeutic- I mean, an excuse to write for hours on end is sort of like unlimited chocolate for a month. And it's professionally helpful- we get a good jump on a novel- or keep writing on that novel we've already started.

So where does that leave the book industry professionals? Good question. Here's where I jump to speculation. I would suggest that there are fewer queries in the month of November than any other month of the year. It's a guess, not a fact, but still something to consider.

And to support my theory of agents and editors having more time in November- I have received a handful of rejections from queries I sent out last April. Why November?

But more exciting by far, I was lucky enough to receive a full editorial letter from an agent with suggestions on how to make my book more marketable. Wow. I can't tell you what an honor that was. Even if she doesn't decide to sign me at the end of the process, I learned a lot. And after spending many hours with the piece, it is better for her efforts. That is priceless.

Of course, my heart nearly flattened when I read a rejection letter this morning- before I realized it wasn't from the same agent. Note to self- always read to the end of the form rejection letter so you know who it's from.

But still, it supports my theory that agents have a little more time in November. Here we are two days before Thanksgiving and I'm getting a rejection from a query sent last April (again). Oh yeah, I should mention that I stopped sending queries after April.

So instead of spending the month immersed in NaNoWriMo- I've done sort of a half and half. Half writing, half editing. And half dancing, half remodeling the front of our house and half housecleaning/laundry. Don't even bother mentioning my fraction skills. I've probably spent half the month helping my older boys with math homework too.

Are you taking November off of querying because you think it's a pointless month? My advice- if you're ready, go for it.


L.T. Elliot said...

What a fascinating observation! I wonder...
I'm so glad to know about the editorial letter! That really is such an honor. Someday you'll see I'm right about you, Laura. And then I'll do my best to just be happy for you and not say, "I told you so!" Because, you know, that would be kind of rude when you're celebrating and all. ;)

Laura said...

I would love an excuse for you to tell me "I told you so." Love you L.T.!