question mark2When I work with writers, one of the most common questions I’m asked is, “When is the best time to send a query?”

It’s a good question: Who doesn’t want to know when an editor is most receptive to ideas from new-to-her writers or whether an idea is most likely to be assigned if it’s emailed at 9 a.m. on Monday verses 9 p.m. on Friday? After 10 years and thousands of queries, I have an answer.

Do you have your pen in hand? Are you ready to mark your calendars?

OK, here it is:

The best time to send a query is after the idea has been thoroughly researched, the pitch has been meticulously written and you have come up with a subject line so brilliant that an editor will pause her recording of Downton Abbey to open the email.


Here’s the thing: You could spend hours debating the pros and cons of various time slots (and many, many writers do) but it’s wasted time. Editors want good ideas. Their jobs depend on wading through hundreds of emailed queries to find gems, regardless of what time the writer hit the send button.

Agonizing over the perfect time to send a query is a stall tactic. It keeps you from sending the idea, which protects you from the possibility of rejection. Or the possibility of success.

Stop waiting for the right time. Instead, take a bold leap into the unknown. Trust that you have done your research, targeted the best magazine and written the hell out of the pitch. Go ahead, hit send.

Keep writing.