Mar 04

Submitting to Publishers and Agents – Is There a Best Time?

Is there a right time?

Lately, I’ve had a number of clients who are going the traditional publishing route. Some are querying directly to book publishers and a couple are querying literary agents.

As I’ve helped a number of clients with their query letters. They can’t wait to submit the query as soon as their book is complete.

But . . .

I read an interesting article at Literary Agent Undercover and it discussed the best time to focus on submissions to literary agents.

It seems rather than submitting during a holiday season or during summer vacations, you should wait.

In fact, most publishers and agents close down for the summer (July and August) – they don’t accept queries.

During holidays most agents and publishers are busy with family and holiday things. They’re distracted. And, even if they may get your query and look it over and possibly be interested, you won’t have their full attention.

So, what should you do?

Best Bet . . .

Avoid the major holidays.

It may be tempting, with your manuscript ready to go, to shoot off queries to every publisher and agent who works within your niche. But, be patient. Wait until after the holiday.

With that said, another source at Writers Digest forum suggests not giving the time of year a second thought, except for possibly December.

Nothing ever seems to close down completely anymore.

The low men/women on the totem pole still man the helm for businesses during slow times. And, if it’s a smaller company, it’s likely the owner or other higher-up wouldn’t want something to slip by. They wouldn’t want to miss a possible best-selling book.

And, in most of these companies your query will go in a slush pile in the order received. This is whether it’s mail during a holiday, on a Sunday, or whenever. That query will have its place and will have to wait to be read until the ones received before it have been read (or at least glanced at).

Mary Kole of weighs in on this topic and notes that November is Nano month. That means lots and lots of manuscripts are heading off to publishers and agents the beginning of December.

Kole also notes, “Publishing mostly slumbers from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, so a lot of agents are using this time to catch up with work, read manuscripts and get all of our affairs for the upcoming year in order.” (1)

What about a particular day or time?

As for the day or time-of-day, it doesn’t seem to matter. Sunday through Saturday. You never know when an agent or publisher will be checking mail or email.

What matters is writing a GOOD story. And, be sure it’s been edited and proofed. Make sure it’s polished. That’s the best advantage you can possibly give yourself.

Summing it up.

1. Avoid the major holidays, December in particular.
2. No matter when your query is received, it will be placed in a slush pile behind the ones received before it.
3. Day and time-of -day doesn’t seem to matter when submitting a query. Aside from December, when your manuscript is ready, shoot it off.
4. Most publishers and agents will let you know (on their website) if they’re closed for July and August.
5. Your best chance of landing a contract is creating a really good story that’s polished.
6. Create a grabbing query letter.
7. In general, expect to wait around 3 months for a response.


To help you track seasonal differences in the response times of queries, you can check out:

This site also lists top literary agents and publishers and provides tools to keep your queries organized. And, you’ll have the benefit from the collective knowledge of thousands of other authors. And, it’s FREE!


Best Time to Submit to Literary Agents?

Be a children's writerBeing a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 170+ page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

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Articles on writing for children

Your Author Platform – Is it Ever Too Soon to Start?

Walking Through Walls Book Trailer

Nov 06

Traditional Publishing and the Author Platform – Be Realistic

Book marketing

Best sellers happen to unknown authors. Getting on the New York

Times Best Seller list happens. Breakout books happen to new authors.

But . . .

Yes, of course, there’s a ‘but.’ Statistically speaking, about 80% or more of all books don’t succeed.

Every new author needs to enter the publishing arena with open eyes. She needs to be realistic as to what’s required of her and what her chances are.

So, how do you help increase your chances of getting your book to succeed? How do you create a successful writing career, even if you don’t have a breakout book?

3 of the Most Important Tips to Effective Author Platform Building and Book Marketing

Whether you landed a book contract or not (if you’re self-publishing these three tips are just as important, if not more so):

1. You absolutely need an author website. And, it needs to be optimized.

Optimization means having the right domain name, the right website title and subtitle, using keywords, optimizing your blog posts, creating the ‘right’ web pages, using optimized images, and so on.

Another key optimization trick is to keep your website simple: easy to read, easy to navigate, and uncluttered.

2. You need an understanding of how to market you book.

According to the February 2013 issue of The Writer, “The slam-dunk team” article explains, “Publishing houses want a business partner, someone who’s going to work hard from the get-go, tirelessly promoting, working connections, and never saying no to an opportunity.”

Do you know how to blog effectively? Do you know about creating a subscriber list and using email marketing for more sales? Do you know how to work social media marketing to increase website traffic, boost authority, and boost sales?

These marketing strategies are all part of an optimized author/writer platform – they’re considered inbound marketing. While it’s all must-know-stuff, it can be easy to do.

There are lots of online opportunities to learn these skills. One super-effective and super-reasonable tool is this 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing:
Build Your Author Platform in 4 Weeks

3. Put your website and new found knowledge to work.

It’s true there is much involved in building your platform and book marketing, but once you get the hang of it, it will become second-nature. Think of it like a puzzle. You have to put the pieces together before you get the results you want.

Have an optimized author website; create an Amazon Author Page; get book reviews; blog your way to traffic; use email marketing to promote new releases; and use social media marketing to widen your marketing reach.

Give your publisher what she wants: A book marketing savvy author.

4. This is a bonus tip:

According to just about all expert book marketers, including Chuck Sambuchino and Jane Friedman, you need to have all your marketing strategies in place before you even start submitting to book publishers or literary agents.

So, if you’re writing a book or you’re in the submissions process, be sure to get your author platform and book marketing strategies in place.

Be able to tell a publisher or agent that, YES – you can help market your book.


Send me an email ( or give me a call at 347–834–6700.

Let’s discuss your project.


Writing for Children – 4 Simple Tips
The Outline Method of Writing (Are You an Outliner?)
The Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components

May 22

Writing, Submissions, and Working With Editors

Working with Editors

Every writer, at least hopefully, will work with an editor from time to time. While, we’d all like it to be on a regular basis, time to time is better than nothing. When in the joyous situation (you’ve gotten something accepted for publication), there are some tips that will help you in your working relationship with an editor.

The first thing, even before you think of submitting your work, is to have your manuscript or article in the best shape possible.


1. Be part of a critique group. Every writer needs the extra eyes of writers working in the same genre. Their insights and critiques will prove to be invaluable to you.

2. Revise and self-edit . . .  repeat and repeat . . .

3. When you think your manuscript is in perfect shape, send it to a freelance editor. You may think this isn’t necessary, but it is. Ask around for one that comes with recommendations.

Now, you’re set; off you go on your submissions fishing trip. But, don’t just drop the line randomly; be sure you do research and find the best spot – one where you know the fish are biting. What this means is to look for publishing houses that are best suited to your manuscript, and ones that are accepting submissions.

After you’ve found a few publishing houses suitable. Read their submission guidelines CAREFULLY, and follow them just as carefully. Now it’s time for the infamous query letter. If you’re unfamiliar with queries, do some research.

Okay, you’ve done everything you needed to, and now you cast off. AND, you get a bite.


Once you’re accepted by a publishing house, you will be assigned an editor. And, don’t be alarmed, but that manuscript you meticulously slaved over, and even paid an editor to go over, will end up with revisions. This is just the nature of the beast—each publishing house has their own way of doing things. They will want you’re manuscript to fit their standards.

Note: the purpose of those long hours of writing work, and hiring an editor is to give your manuscript the best shot of making it past the acquisition editor’s trash pile, and actually getting accepted.
Now on to 4 tips that will help make your editor/author experience a pleasant one:

1. Always be professional.

2. Don’t get insulted when the editor requests revisions. They are not trying to hurt your feelings; they are hired by the publishing house to get your manuscript in the best possible saleable state. They want your book to sell as much as you do.

3. Keep the lines of communication open. If you have a question, ask. If you disagree with an edit, respectfully discuss it. Editors are not infallible; sometimes your gut feeling is right.

4. Take note of deadlines and be on time—this is your career, and in some cases your livelihood.


Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.


Book Marketing and the Query Letter
Point of View and Children’s Storytelling
Writing for Children – Character Believability and Conflict