Sing it with me now:
Puuuuuuuuuuublishing’s out! For! Sum-mer!
This one’s for all of you who may feel scared off of submitting your work once the air conditioning turns on. Though it’s important to be aware of certain tendencies and perceived norms in the business you’re trying to break into, it’s equally important to keep a level head and approach them with an open, analytical mind. As comforting as it might be, don’t fall victim to taking an absolute property or behavior as the one truth that rules all facets of this business. If you’ve seen me at writers’ conferences, you’ve probably heard me refer to publishing as a grand ecosystem. It’s important to keep in mind just how diverse this business is. Different methods, media, models, schedules, approaches, and tendencies abound, and they each arise out of the particular needs of that small corner of the industry. This goes all the way down to the micro level, and there are always exceptions along the way.
For example, let’s take that first assumption, “Publishing closes down in summer.” Just in our portion of this ecosystem, let’s look at a sample of what’s currently going on:
- We’re negotiating several new publishing deals.
- We’re receiving and editing a wave of new client manuscripts.
- We’re actively pitching our projects, one of which to a publisher that has a one-month annual submissions window in June.
- We have several big books coming out in July/August, including EVERYTHING WE KEEP by Kerry Lonsdale, FIRE by C.C. Humphreys, and SWEET CAROLINA MORNING by Susan Schild.
- We’re publishing 4 books through Short Fuse in the very near future (look for a new Heather Hiestand romance on the 13th).
- Our agents and clients (and lots of editors and publishers) are attending major conferences, including Worldcon, PNWA, RWA Annual, and ALA Annual.
- We’re also in the process of signing some badass new clients.
And that’s just our agency, which is one of many. Keep in mind that there are many paths to publication, and the majority of folks who get published this year will not have agents.
Remember that last bullet point, too. Even if you are looking for the agent-to-big-corporate-publisher route, it’s not like you should just write off that possibility for the next few months because someone who claims to know more than you says something that sounds like insider info. You care more about this than to be turned off that quickly. Always check for yourself. I get this question a lot: “Is there a portion of the year in which it’s best not to submit to agents?” That really varies. Though there are a few weeks at the end of each year in which a good portion of publishing professionals take off work to see their families, you should make it a habit to check your desired agent’s website and social media to see whether or not they’re closed to submissions at any point in the year. Sometimes emergencies or vacations come up, and it’s best to get the word directly from that agent, rather than relying on what you heard was the case for everyone in this entire business.