First off, if you’re not reading Jane Friedman’s blog, you should be (she’s the editorial director for Writer’s Digest books). She’s like Paperback Writer–honest and funny and educational and entertaining — can we ask for anything more? You can find Jane’s blog here.
Second, if nothing else, go read Jane’s post on the state of publishing. It’s well worth your time. Trust me on this. And thank you to Jeanne (Best Pimp Ho Evah!) for introducing me to Jane. Jane’s post reminds me of Mel’s Monday post here at SFC and my own post on Tuesday at NAS–just from a very different perspective. While I subscribe to the theory that we writers need to keep our head down and just write, I also think it’s shortsighted of any writer to ignore the current changes taking place not only in publishing, but in our world at large. A topic I could go on and on about but will probably save until Monday.
Third check out Jane’s interview on Writers and the Recession.
Ok enough pimpage! Today’s Dear Gentle Writer question comes to us from Paula who hails from the Pacific Northwest: What’s a unagented writer to do when they’ve submitted to an editor (at a small press), had great e-mailed communication back and forth (over the course of several months) with praise and promises from the editor for a swift response. The editor says she has notes coming, yet more months later, the writer is still waiting for them. Forget it and move on? Submit something else, though their policy says only one submission at a time? E-mail again, though doing so hasn’t helped?
Dear Gentle Writer….What a quandary you’re in! I totally feel your pain too, and I’m sure you are not the only writer to be in this particular position.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and give you a couple of suggestions. I hope when this matter is resolved, you’ll email me so I can post an update.
A) If it’s been at least six months, I’d write her again, give her one LAST shot (say 30 days)–then cut your losses. Rapport or not, this is a business and to be frank, I subscribe to the Madonna School of Business. Your time is JUST as valuable as the editors. And while I realize editors are busy people and the work of current writers comes first, if you say you’re going to do something, then I feel you should do it.
B) If you have something else to query her with, and you really want to write for this publisher, go ahead and query her with it. What’s she going to say (since she’s been sitting on your work for months??)? No? Don’t do that? You’re a bad girl? Shame on you! WHATEV! Stop being so nice! (This from a girl who never sent out only one query letter at a time…I also rip the tags off my pillows and mattress–someone call the cops me on already).
C) While you wait over the next 30 or so days, formulate a back-up plan for that manuscript. Where else can you send it? Who else can you query with it? Don’t just sit around wringing your hands and clicking the refresh button on your email program! 😀 And then, on day 30, start sending out those queries!
Anyone else have any thoughts or advice for Paula?
Next week on Dear Gentle Writer….the family that “just don’t understand.”