Query Queries: What are the best times to query agents?

There is some speculation in certain writing groups about the “best” and “worst” times (of the week, month, or year) to query agents.  Does timing your query really matter?

It’s certainly tempting to think you can get an advantage by querying at the right time, but the truth is that every agent’s schedule is different.  Many agents work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Rachel Ekstrom Courage of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency has said: “I am as sporadic about responding to [queries] as people are in sending them. I once startled someone by responding to their query at 4 a.m., but I was in an airport and had a chance to peek. Since agents read queries whenever they can (yes, we often don’t have time during the workday), I think you can send them whenever you can.”

None of this is to say that timing doesn’t wholly matter.  Some of the magic of the query process is timing because along with sending a query to entice an agent, that agent must be ready for new projects.  If the agent has just finished selling all of her unsold projects, she’s hitting the slush pile for more.  Naturally, this timing is nearly impossible to determine for writers on the outside.

Therefore, think the simplest answer to this question is: the best time to query is when your project is ready to go.

When your query letter is polished and your manuscript is as tight as it can be, then it’s time to send it.

So query on, my writer friends!


Query QueriesWriting Life

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