Wednesday, November 30, 2005

An Agent's View: The Holiday Myth

Literary agent Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency talks about publishing and the holidays.

"All I Want for Christmas are my...Publishing Contracts?"

Rumors. They are all around us in this industry.

"Did you hear that xxx has moved to xxx?"

"I heard that the xxx line has been dropped!"

"OMG, did you see that quote from xxx? I bet that means they are starting a new imprint..."

Some rumors can be helpful, while others just spread fear and simply are untrue.

As we sneak into December, two of my favorites pop up every year.

1) Don't submit ANYTHING in December. Editors and agents clear their desks before the first of the year and you're sure to be automatically rejected.

2) The publishing industry completely shuts down in December.

Wow - while a month long hiatus sounds nice (think of all the holiday baking and shopping I could get done during the day!), the publishing industry simply does not shut down in December. Not even close! In fact, every year I joke with editors when we discuss deals that I thought that we weren't even supposed to be working until January 2.

Truly, I've found the weeks between Thanksgiving and the holidays to be extremely busy. I've sold projects, negotiated contracts, worked on cover issues and have gotten requests during that time. Checks still come in, clients still send proposals, manuscripts still get edited, emails still get sent. In fact, it really is business as usual.

The difference? December just feels calmer. Maybe it's the Christmas music I blare (the Chipmunks are singing "Christmas Don't Be Late" as I type!) or the good mood cheer everywhere I go. Maybe it's the cold air or the white blowing snow. Whatever it is, it just makes me want to work!

As for automatic rejections and clearing off of the desks? I really don't buy into that either. I would never just reject to clean. In fact, what better time of year to find a gift? A terrific new project that is itching to be represented? It's like I have a stack of presents just waiting for me to open!

Seriously, December truly is like every other month - we still have deadlines and everyday business to contend with. But, don't you just feel that magical static in the air? I wish we could carry that good-will energy with us every other month of the year.

So, please keep writing. Keep submitting. And most of all, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


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