This is always a touchy situation with writers. At what point do you follow up with an editor or agent after sending a project?
We all know that editors and agents state a timeline for when they believe a response will get back to you. This, of course varies from one editor or agent to the next but generally, you are looking at thee months. So, here’s the scenario. You have sent the proposal out and now you want to know if A) the proposal even made it to the right person; and B) if the manuscript has been read yet. We’re actually dealing with two things here. The first is the easy one to fix, the second is the tougher one.
Did it make it? I am not sure who came up with the idea of these, but personally, in my humble opinion, I hate them. Writers send, in their packets a SASE Postcard that says, “I have received the manuscript.” While on the surface this sounds great, it is an additional piece of paperwork. Not only that, in my case, I don’t open your envelope until I am ready to read it. That means your card just sits there. The solution, however, is easy. Use delivery confirmation. No, I am not saying to get a signature from the person, just use the tracking. It works all of the time and you know where things are. The signature thing is a pain. It looks like someone just sent me something like that yesterday. The problem is that today, when they re-deliver, I already know I will be gone. Hmmmm?
Did they read it? So the three months have gone by. How do you check in with them. The easiest way to do this is send a quick email (if you have it) or a letter checking in. If you do the letter, this might be the time to use the post card thing. Remember that these people are busy and things do get shoved to the side. Sometimes they do misplace things. The key though is to give them at least a month after the time they asked for.
Now, if you never hear from them, would you ever want to work with that person? At that point, I would almost recommend, if you are up to the punishment to send it again. In most cases, though, this sounds like a sign from the heavens that you don’t want to work there.
Off on my busy day! See you tomorrow!
Scott C. Eagan