Should I Send Queries During the Holidays? — A Timely Mailbag Question

Carol Tice

The Holidays and Query Letters Don't MixHi all —

I know. I don’t ordinarily post on Tuesdays. But I got a question from Christine Champ that can’t wait!

She wrote:

Do you think it’s a bad idea to send out new pitches during the holidays? Like with Thanksgiving coming up, would you not send any new pitches until the following week? I have a few pitches I planned to send out [Thanksgiving week}, but then thought should I wait ’til after the holiday.

Quick answer: I’d wait.

Editors’ schedules are crazy enough on a normal, five-day week. On the short weeks, they’re really nuts. I think it ups your odds of just getting passed over.

I actually wouldn’t send any out the Monday after a long holiday weekend, either. If I don’t miss my guess, editors will spend the entire day just digging out of email and putting out fires. So I think that’s not a good day either.

It’s frustrating to hit these periods where you have a story idea you love, but you need to sit on it. But I think it’s probably the right thing to do.

I’m sure there’s another school of thought, that a lot of workaholics tend to sit and catch up on email during the holidays, and maybe that means in a weird way they might be more likely to take time to read yours. But I guess I don’t want to encourage workaholism, so I don’t add to the pressure by sending queries in a holiday period.

Finally, if you’re snail-mailing queries, go ahead and send them out — they won’t look at them until next Tuesday, but that should work out fine.

Are you sending out any queries during the holidays? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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Photo via Flickr user hurricanemaine


  1. Zahra Brown

    I don't see why she should sit on the query. Sending it now will add her to a LONG queue, but waiting until the queue is even longer won't help either. I would send it now. A response won't come for a long time, but that happens anyway with queries. The sooner you submit the sooner you get a response.

    • TiceWrites

      Definitely one theory on it, Zahra — just send.

      As we head into December, we may have to take this approach or we'll never send any queries out all month!

  2. John Soares

    Carol, I'm with you — I minimize marketing during the holidays. Most editors are trying to do the same amount of work in less time, so they're less likely to pay attention to freelancer queries.
    My recent post Top 10 Ways to Generate Great Ideas

  3. @write4unj

    My son is an editor with a group of weekly newspapers that normally publish on Thursdays. That means that Monday & Tuesday are his busiest days as the paper goes to print on Wednesday. However, this week last Friday was "Monday" and yesterday was "Tuesday". He just came home for lunch and when I asked how things were (as he's also filling in for his boss, top editor, this week) he said fine, it's a slow day. So . . . today might not be a bad day to send things in. I agree though that Mondays (even when it's not after a holiday weekend) might not be the best time to send an e-mail.

    • TiceWrites


  4. Jean Gogolin

    I wouldn't send queries to editors just before Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I think the holidays are a fine time to stay in touch (in a very low key way) with clients and prospects. E-Newsletters are the perfect way to do that, as are personal emails and snail mail notes. I just wish these people happy holidays and say I'll be in touch early in 2011.
    My recent post Bring Writing to Life with Details

  5. amyparmenter


    I'm kind of mixed on this one. I think it depends who you are querying. For instance, in my work in a newsroom….once we get past the holiday traffic story….and probably the crack down on drunk driving story….we are often looking for an interesting angle — especially if it can be spun in such a way that it is in anyway relevant to the holiday or shopping, etc etc. I always think the best way to make these decisions is to target the person/publication/media outlet….and try to call and speak directly to someone who will be making those decisions simply by saying 'hey i was think about sending a story but i wondered if it would be better to wait until after the holidays?" At that point you will (hopefully) be able to engage in a short conversation that will not only give you your answer…but also give you some insight as to the thinking behind such decisions….not to mention having a future contact.

    Happy holidays!!!

    Amy Parmenter

    • TiceWrites

      Great point, dailies might be interested in anything you could send at these slow news times!

  6. TiceWrites

    That is such as great idea, Jean…and one I'm always trying to get together and don't. I'm going to really try to make that happen this year!

  7. Linda Formichelli

    My M.O. is, when I finish a query, I send it — and I don't agonize if it's 9 am on a Monday or Christmas Day. You wouldn't believe the weird hours and days I've received responses from editors! Just the other day I heard from an editor at 10:30 pm with a positive response to my Letter of Intro. And December is often one of my busiest times of the year…it seems that editors suddenly realize after Thanksgiving that they have magazines to fill in the coming year.
    My recent post Thank you!

  8. Gutsy Writer

    Any idea on sending queries to agents?
    I thought they might be curious to open their e-mails between Christmas and New Year's.

    • TiceWrites

      I like Linda's rule above — just keep sending things when they're ready to send. Otherwise, we just get a complex about whether it's the 'right time' to send something.

      The main rule of querying, to me, is to send as many queries as you can each year. So each time period we decide isn't OK for sending reduces the number. If something's truly a fit for a publication or an agent, I think it won't matter when it arrives.


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