During July and August especially, many agents and editors are busy with writing conferences, book shows and vacations. When September arrives, they’re back in the office, replete with stacks of pitches and requested mss. gleaned from those conferences. I’ve always heard that from September to mid-October is prime time for cold querying agents. Then in October, many are off to Frankfurt Germany’s book fair for a week or two. After that, November and December get snagged by the holidays. January provides a short window for getting attention, as many editors are planning their Spring purchases. Late Spring is another open season, when Fall lines are under consideration. And so it goes.
Writing Tip for Today: The point is that it’s not that you can’t cold query during the “off seasons,” only that the probability of contacting an agent who’s actively looking gets better during these windows. Agents search year-round for that next great book, but it makes sense to target the times when publishers are planning their next line-up. Get out that query letter for your completed novel, and be prepared to actively submit the query come September.
**Next, I’ll review a cool formula for getting at the heart of your story without the torture most writers believe comes with query-writing.
Try This! Take a stab at either writing or revising a query letter. The letter should be formatted as a business letter, single-spaced, hard double return between paragraphs. Your query should fit on one page.