Tuesdays Hate (and Love) Me: A Scientific Study

To mathematically determine if any one particular day of the week hates or loves writers more than the others.

A little over two years ago, I began my first query coaster for a (now) shelved novel. As the requests (a handful) and rejections (many handfuls) rolled in and I was updating my tracking spreadsheet, the little engineer in me started murmuring. There was a pattern there...though it took several more weeks for it to emerge.

Once I identified it, I promptly decided the mind-bending, puke-inducing query roller coaster had offically gotten the better of me. I kept my mouth shut as to appear saner than I was. At LA-SCBWI that year, I shared a cab back to the airport with a friend (code named: Friend 'A' for the purposes of this posting), who was on the query ride herself. In a moment one of those eerie quiet, the mix of  conference exhaustion and inspiration got the better of me.

"Have you noticed any particular day of the week where you get more rejections or requests or whatever?" I blurted out.

Her eyebrows furrowed. She tapped her chin. "Now that you mention it..."

Knowing crossed between our widening eyes.

"TUESDAYS!" We shouted together, startling the cab driver such that he nearly slammed into the Prius next to us on Santa Monica Blvd.

More quietly, we discussed how Tuesday, rather than Monday, became the dreaded day of the calendar. And while there were requests made more often on the day too, Tuesday still intimidated us with it's...importance.

*Note: the retelling above is a dramatization by paid actors. Actual events may have transpired differently, but with the same end result: our shared, independent realization of the hyperactivity of Tuesdays in the arena of agent correspondence*

Friend 'A' mentioned it to her close writing confidant (Friends 'B') and we formed a small support group for those victim of Tuesday. Many Tuesdays, not all, we check in with each other to see how life...and TUESDAY...is treating everyone. Other than this anecdotal evidence, none of us actually ran a systematic study on just how lopsided Tuesday was.

It probably would've continued as such, but Friend 'A' mentioned the theory to Friend 'C' (who'd just started querying) and Friend 'C' didn't buy it...until she admittedly geeked out and compiled a list of her rejections and found that, in fact, 23% of her contact with agents occurred on a Tuesday. Only slightly more than expected, but still...

She inspired me to investigate, mathematically, if there was an ACTUAL correlation in my own tally.

  • Using my most recent round of queries from this summer, I determined what day of the week my rejections or requests came in. 
  • I excluded any of the "if you don't hear from us in XX weeks, it means NO,"-type agencies and focused on those that actually sent something. 
  • If I got a request for a full on a Tuesday, but then a subsequent rejection on a Tuesday later, I counted it as two separate marks in the Tuesday column. 
  • I calculated the percentages for each day of the week in terms of rejections and requests. 
  • I calculated the overall Tuesday agent correspondence rate (a combination of rejections & requests).
  • As a gut check, I established an "Expected Range." Assuming that agents don't work on weekends (though they do), Tuesdays should really produce 1/5 or 20% of the action...down to 14% if I included Saturday and Sunday in the calculation. 
  • I asked Friends 'A', 'B', and 'C' to provide their overall Tuesday agent correspondence rates as means of comparison. 

My conclusion: it's apparent that there's something going on here. Tuesday is a disproportional player in the query world. 

What's the reason? 

Maybe agents/assistants/readers tackle the slush pile all weekend, get to work on Monday with the intention of responding, become initiated with other things (as we all do on Mondays), and finally get around to the responses on Tuesday. 

Or maybe there's a union of assistants who don't work on Monday. 

Or maybe there's a clause in the AAR bylines about Tuesdays being the most ethical day to send a rejection. 



Can you help a geek out? Any other theories? 

Do your rejection/requests follow the Tuesday rule...or is it just me (and Friends 'A-B-C') who the day's got its sights set upon?


Ha, this is awesome! Also crazy! Makes me want to cull through my pile of rejections to see if I should hate Tuesdays now....

I love it. I always say, "put a name on it" - your fears, your anger, your rejections. He-who-shall-not-be-named is now called, Tuesday. Thanks, Bret!!

This is hilarious! I love the science paper set-up. You got a small sample from me - I wonder if I should go through other manuscripts' rejections to make the sample size larger?

You're such a sweet talker

If you do, I can always update my study!

Tuesday as my Voldemort! I couldn't have put it better myself.

Thanks. Bigger sample sizes never hurt, though most of the time anything over 10 or 12 isn't much more telling.

This is one of the geekiest but greatest things I've seen in a while, with a disheartening twist. My guess: Monday is for catch-up from the weekend; Tuesday is for action.

While we are geeking out, I used to work as a transportation engineer and we always collected traffic data Tuesday through Thursday. The reason being: 1) there are more holidays on Monday and Friday and 2) people's traffic patterns are more steady on these days (taking off early on Friday, coming in late on Monday, etc). This doesn't totally explain the Tuesday bump. I checked my own query info from this year and sure enough Tuesday had a slight lead. I think you are on to something

Very interesting! There must be similar reasons behind this agent/Tuesday thing.

Thanks. It was one of the geekiest things I've written for a while (ok, that was a straight up lie, I'm an engineer - EVERYTHING I write at work is pretty geeky).

Tuesday action was my best guess too.

Some say Tuesdays are the most productive day of the work week. Perhaps, that's your answer! http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/stories/2008/02/04/daily64.html

Hilarious! But, maybe you've got a point. I'll have to check my records and get back with you....!

makes me smile to know I'm not the ONLY crazy one out there! :))

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