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Summer (in the northern hemisphere at least)

25 July 2016

So what does summer mean for writers?

For many it's a chance to use the break to work on that novel, in the hope of getting it ready to offer around or to self-publish in the autumn. For those who are at that stage, it can provide a chance to gather your thoughts and concentrate on the work in hand. Or, conversely, if you have young children, it can be one of the busiest times of the year, dealing with the children's school holidays, and the last time when you can focus on your writing.

For readers it's a time to indulge themselves and take away a stack of favourite books, all the easier now with the Kindle to take the strain. This makes the summer months a big time for publishers and booksellers, plus of course online retailers, to sell what is ubiquitously known as ‘Summer Reading'.

For publishers and agents the summer is a really quiet time, as work progresses on the autumn lists and most people really do go on holiday. Agents don't submit much in July or August, for risk of being ignored, and for the same reason agents don't pay much attention to submissions from authors in the summer.

So if you're set on trying to find an agent or publisher, it really is better to polish your submission and to get ready to send your work off in September. Spend the time researching who you're going to send it to, and making your Submission Package as effective as you can.

Self-publishers are in a different position, as they can publish whenever they like, but it may still be best to use the summer to prepare for publication in September or October. Your audience is not concentrating in the same way, but you could argue that at a quiet time your book has more chance of standing out. Outside the northern hemisphere, life still goes on. The web has made our lives less seasonally-oriented and it's certainly less important than it is in traditional publishing to choose the right time of year - yet another way in which self-publishing and the opportunities presented by the internet have changed the possibilities for writers.

Enjoy the summer!