I read a post on an agent’s blog recently about “waiters”…those people who put a submission in the mail and then wait for it to be accepted or rejected instead of turning their attention to more important things, like writing the next book. I agree with that, it’s important to move on and up.
I also encountered some agent’s guidelines firmly stating: if you don’t hear from us, assume it’s a rejection.
For me, that advice was a bit harder to swallow.
Yeah, yeah, I get the “they’re just not into you” mentality — if the story is great, the agents and publishers will be beating down your door to get hold of it. If you don’t get an answer, they’re just not that into your writing. I also get that they are all really busy and inundated with submissions: good, bad and indifferent. They have to invest their time in the good, not the bad. I REALLY do get it. However, without any feedback (positive or negative), it’s like writing and submitting to a black hole.
I once quit writing because of that yawning bottomless pit. Yeah, prolific me just up and quit. I had over a dozen short stories out at the time and had heard nothing back on any of them for months upon months. No rejections even. One day, as I prepared to lick the submission envelope for yet another story, an unfamiliar feeling washed over me. Why bother? I realized I’d lost hope of ever having anything accepted (or even actively rejected) for publication again. And so I didn’t bother. I still have that envelope somewhere.
Eventually the characters I carry around in my head clamored long and loud enough for me to think about writing again. Sadly, I still find myself waiting impatiently for answers from publishers and agents while I keep busy writing my next book.
Part of me just can’t shut off that anxious wondering. As authors, it can take years for us to write a book. I, personally, have no idea how long it takes an agent or publisher to work their way to one lowly manuscript lurking in that towering slush pile. Days? Months? Years?
For those agents/publishers who don’t want to send rejections to the seething masses, how hard would it be to simply put a statement on the bottom of the submissions page of a website or in that lovely auto response e-mail — “If you don’t hear from us within (insert appropriate time frame), feel free to assume it is a rejection.”
I’d appreciate that honesty.
Now, I’ll let you get back to your W is for Wednesday as I prepare to type THE END on my W is for work in progress.
Have a good one!