Economic Reasons to Submit...or Not

Recently, I've read a lot on writer's forums about how bad the book-selling industry is doing right now with the down economy. I'm hearing (reading) that agents and editors are taking on very few new projects, and selecting the ones they do take on with extreme care.

So, I'm thinking of stopping my querying for my novel for the time being (months, years) until the economy improves. I currently have nine outstanding queries, and I think I'll see what comes of them, but wait to send out any more.

My thinking is I want to wait until the market improves so I won't get a bunch of rejections that otherwise could be acceptances in a better economy. There are only a finite number of agents and publishing houses and if I exhaust them all now, when they're not in the buying mood, I may lose them, possibly forever.

At least that's my thinking on this matter for the time being.

Am I wrong?

Well, I've heard the argument on both sides—and I suppose waiting may have some merit, but. . . I wouldn't.

Yes, agents and publishers may be tightening their belts but they're still looking for good—as in, really good— manuscripts. If your mss is really good, they're going to snap it up because they want something that will sell well even in a depressed economy.

If your mss is not that good, they're going to reject it even if the economy is going gangbusters.

If your mss is so-so, it might have a better chance with some publishers in a good economy, but is that what you really want?

So I'd say, make sure your work is as polished and perfect as possible, and keep submitting. (Your chances of acceptance may even be a little better if other authors are thinking like you and not submitting as much.)

If they reject you, it's not like you've lost them forever because you're writing new stuff, right? (If you're not, you should be.) You can always submit the new stuff to these same agents and publishers in the future.

And let's say your mss was passed on strictly due to economic reasons. If you submit another novel in 6 or 12 or 24 months down the road, and it's accepted because the economy is better, you then can re-pitch the mss you sent during the poor economy.


Rebecca Talley said...

Publishers are in business to make money and they can't do that without manuscripts to publish. Like LDSP said, if your ms is good, a publisher will buy it in hopes of making money on it.

I'd guess that publishers will tighten up what they accept, but they still need manuscripts to accept.

Yes, the economy isn't great, but if we all throw up our hands and give up, what will it be then? We just need to keep moving forward with a positive attitude that things will perk up and we'll get through it. Don't give up your dream to publish because of the economy. Submit your best work and keep submitting until you have a contract.

Anonymous said...


You said, "you then can re-pitch the mss you sent during the poor economy."

Can I do that? I thought once an agent/editor rejects you it's over.