On Querying: No Right or Wrong Time

Turkey day is around the corner, but for some of us, we had our Thanksgiving already, back in October J But no matter, one should give thanks every day of the week and not just on holidays. But when it comes to such days, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, conference time people often wonder, is this a bad time to query agents/publishers?
In short, the answer is NO.
There really is no “right” or “wrong” time to query agents. You don’t have to worry about the holidays, or conferences or Tuesdays. If the agent hasn’t specifically said not to query, then its fair game, you might as well get your letter into their mailbox so it’s there when they get back. Chances are everyone besides you has already done so, so in waiting, that means you’re at the back of a very long line.
Of course holidays, and conferences and Tuesdays (I’m really kidding about Tuesdays, there’s nothing wrong with them) may require you to have just a little bit more patience than usual. If an agent/publisher says they respond in one to two weeks but you’ve just queried them over Frankfurt, well, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s going to take them longer to wade through the plethora of queries that are waiting for them when they get back.
But that doesn’t mean agents/publishers aren’t always working, because they are. Reading queries—your query—is an extra part of their job. This is what they do while watching TV or sitting in an airport. This is not part of their regular duties, they have clients that need their attention. So remember, when you send a query, they are taking personal time to read it in order to gain new clients.
And, just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you won’t get a response—good or negative—because maybe between pumpkin pie and a nightcap they have decided to pull out their computer and sift through their e-mail. Some of the best books have been read over holidays--and deals made shortly after--because what better way to spend a three hour flight to the in-laws than to read a manuscript, or maybe as they wait for the train they read a few sample pages.
Send your polished, clean and unadorned query when your manuscript is sparkling--And only then!--you don’t want to blow your chance because you queried too soon, or assumed that the agent would be on holidays so you would have a chance to clean it up further before they’d every reply back.
Remember though, you must always, always, always—and I can’t stress this enough—follow the agent/publishers submission guidelines. If they say they aren’t accepting queries, don’t query them, your query will end up in the garbage faster than you can say garbage.
I’ll have to revisit the vast category of queries, because there is just so much information that can be spat out, knowledge gained and well, let’s face it, sometimes the tiny 250 word query you write for agents/publishers can often times be a million more times difficult than writing an entire novel, but until then... Happy Thanksgiving! Or, rather Happy Day!!

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