Agent & Querying Tip of the Week: Sometimes it’s the Timing


As usual, today’s tips come from the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents.

Sometimes it’s the Timing.

There’s an article in the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents where Karen Dionne, author of Freezing Point, describes how her first year with her agent and editor went. It was a touching article. Karen learned a lot from the process. The most important thing that I believe she learned is that sometimes if your book fails, it’s not always you or your work–it’s the timing.

A lot of work went into Karen’s first novel, but it didn’t sell. So she went back to the story she’d been writing while searching for agents–Freezing Point, which is an environmental thriller. She sent out the manuscript to fifteen editors, but not a single one bit. Six months later, Karen’s agent called to tell her that an offer have been made on Freezing Point. What changed?

Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, had come out. Environmental issues were suddenly popular. “Eco-thrillers were now a hot commodity,” Dionne writes in her article. After the book had been published, irony struck–magazines and reviewers were all commenting on her novel’s timeliness. The book had been started ten years before it hit the shelves.

So if your agent believes that your work is great and it’s not being grabbed up by editors, it may not be your fault. It just might be the timing.



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