You have sent your project to an editor or an agent. Their guidelines state “We will respond within 6-8 weeks.” Do you mark your calendar on day 56 and send that person a query the minute the deadline passed?
This past week one of my clients set a personal record for waiting.
She was contacted by a magazine asking to publish a poem she submitted…in 1990. You read that right. Twenty-six years after submitting the work, it sold.
Various reactions centered around the question”what?” Not only had this magazine kept the submission in a file…they actually looked at it 26 years later.
We had another client sell her novel 22 months after we submitted it to a publisher. After nearly two years she had already moved on and sold other novels elsewhere. But was happy to accept the offer.
Maybe there is a lesson here. Both of these clients are consummate professionals. They don’t have just one piece they rely upon for publishing success. The non-fiction writer is always working on new material and submitting ideas to periodicals. The novelist is constantly working on the next project while writing the current one and studying the market to see if there is something she can target for her proposals.
I receive the occasional note from an annoyed writer wondering why I haven’t responded within eight weeks. A couple weeks ago one enthusiastic author called the office the day after emailing the proposal wondering if we had read it yet. Another questioned the legitimacy of the agency and my statement of faith because I had not responded to their email query (which only proved the person had not read the guidelines on our website very carefully).
Maybe the real lesson is if I contact you in the year 2042 offering to represent the proposal you sent me this month…try to act surprised.