Teri's picture
Teri September 4, 2012 - 10:23am

I didn't see a thread for this, doesn't mean there isn't one, but I did look. 

 

I have a question.

 

What is the etiquette on response times? 

 

Meaning, say you've submitted work, waited longer than they said to for a reply, sent a follow up, were told you'd be given an answer by a certain time, that time and then some has passed, not upset or anything but, how to gracefully move the situation along?

 

Thank you.

Kathryn

Mckay Williams's picture
Mckay Williams from Oakland, California is reading slowly... September 4, 2012 - 11:42am

I treat it a lot like a job interview. If I don't hear two weeks past when they said I'd heard from them, I drop it.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs September 4, 2012 - 12:13pm

Sometimes emails don't get delivered. Wait a bit longer, then email.

I don't bother emailing though if a publisher/publication never responds in the first place to a submission, but it's worth contacting them if they said they would be giving you an answer.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer September 4, 2012 - 1:07pm

Send out a query if it is significantly beyond their normal timeline. There is a function on Duotrope that will tell you how long the normal response time is. If you don't hear anything, send a polite query. If you still don't hear anything, and want to submit the piece elsewhere, send a polite withdrawl and then submit somewhere else.

Literary Magazines fold all the time. If you aren't getting responses, they could be busy, or if the website hasn't been updated recently, they might be dead. There are also certain markets that will not send out rejections. If your piece has been out for a certain period of time on those, you should assume rejection.

Beyond anything, check the guidelines at that market. A lot of them will give a time-frame and procedure for querying or just the submission process overall.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 4, 2012 - 3:06pm

^i'll echo what these guys say. for a novel submitted to a press, you have to understand that in theory they are reading an entire novel (few actually do). whereas with short stories, there is less to read. so, be a bit more patient. but definitely don't give up. i send a nudge about 2-4 weeks after whatever the deadline is. if i don't hear anything back within a few weeks, i'd send another follow up, but maybe expand the email to more than one address (is there a general submissions/slush email, as well as an editor?) i've even hit them up on Facebook or Twitter if i can't get an answer and i'm really stoked to work with them. quite often the emails are going into spam folders, or being lost, or read by an intern that doesn't care or doesn't know.

that being said, i've had a conversation going with a press i really love for over A YEAR. and even though i have an agent now, it's been a back and forth thing with this taking WAY longer than it should. it was supposed to be six months, then when i got some offers they kind of passed, but when i got an agent and followed up again, one owner took the reigns while the other was out of town, and now they are both still interested (very interested) and have said they'd get back to me in 30-60 days as they had to narrow some titles down and then look again.

but after all of that, if you don't hear back, just move on. maybe they'll get back to you, maybe they won't. especially with agents, some never get back to you, but most presses and nearly all journals will respond.

good luck!

Teri's picture
Teri September 4, 2012 - 3:53pm

 

 I'm trying to avoid contacting editors on the social sites unless I have an established rapport with them. It's someplace where I know they get a lot of submissions but I figure when someone tells you they'll tell you by Tuesday, I don't want to have to be asking later, "Um, which Tuesday did you mean, exactly?" 

Plus, yeah, I'd like to have the story back if they aren't going to use it.

 

Thank you!

 

 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig September 4, 2012 - 4:25pm

What do you mean "social sites" like facebook? I wouldn't do that. Ever. 

Teri's picture
Teri September 4, 2012 - 11:32pm

I mean like facebook. I try not to ask questions of editors about actual submissions on those sites.I might ask what their business contact info. is, but I try not to. It is tough to do though because let's face it, we are all there every day and it's the eaiest way to find most of us. I'm not saying I never have, I'm saying I try not to. 

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs September 5, 2012 - 12:34am

Sometimes publications have facebook "fan pages" or whatever. There's nothing wrong with sending a message to that, although it may not be the most direct way to contact them.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig September 5, 2012 - 1:17am

From your first post, it sounds like you've already submitted and at least recieved one response, right? I would communicate through that means. I think you risk looking very unprofessional if you are contacting them through Facebook over a query for something you've already submitted and exchanged emails about.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 5, 2012 - 9:30am

the only reason i've reached out to presses/journals on Facebook or Twitter is if I haven't gotten a response anywhere else. it's kind of a last resort. but if i see they're active on FB/T every day, multiple posts per day, but haven't responded to three emails over six months, i don't have a problem reaching out to them that way. stuff gets lost all the time, emails aren't checked. i'm already following/liking them.

for instance, Duotrope.com said that a certain journal was open to submissions. i went to submit, but Submittable said they weren't open. i sent off an email, got not response for several days, said fuck it, and sent them a quick tweet, and they said "OH, thanks, yeah that's wrong on Duotrope, we'll go change it. Open on October 1." no biggie.

in fact i just got an email from a really cool magazine about a story i sent them. i'd given up on them, but i guess they changed websites, servers, hosts, something. they lost a lot of submissions. so, although they are currently closed, they offered me a chance to resubmit something else NOW, before they reopen in a few months, and said they'd give me a fast, personal response sooner rather than later. i thought that was nice.

shit goes wrong all the time. if you don't follow up, you'll never know. as long as you're polite and professional it's hard for them to get pissed off.

Teri's picture
Teri September 5, 2012 - 4:30pm

Exactly, about reaching out on FB, being kind of a last resort. 

Well, I sent another email, ended in the story being rejected but a pleasant rejection as those go. 

I'm not so daunted by those, I figure writing some of the things I write, finding the right homes for things can take some time, sometimes.

It's all kind of awkward. I mean, editors, publishers, it's what they do, all day every day, so on one hand, I'm sure they get sick of it, "Hey, did you get to MY story?" but then on the other hand, it's their job. But then, like every other job, there are going to be less than motivated people. That was simply the first time somone told me they would get back to me and didn't and I was like....Um...? 

It's one of the reasons why forums like this are important, being able to connect with other writers. I can write all day and all night long, have confidence in my abilities, but when it comes to the publishing/business side of things, it really is a  learn as you go process and to have peers to ask these kinds of questions of is really a priceless resource. 

Thanks guys!

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies April 8, 2013 - 11:48am

Maybe you guys can help here. I had a story accepted almost a year ago for a smaller journal. The website hasn't been updated since that time. There isn't any new news about the printing of the journal, yet i see the editor/creator posting things on Facebook pretty regularly and it's nothing about the magazine, just random stuff. I really like this story and i'm going to send it elsewhere instead of waiting a year for her to ger her shit together. I think i can do better. Should i just send it out or what?

Sound's picture
Sound from Azusa, CA is reading Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt April 8, 2013 - 12:47pm

Did they give you an estimate as to when it'd be published when they accepted it? I'd still send them a note simply asking if they were still planning to use it. If no reply, then I think you're ok sending it out for consideration elsewhere.

That reallly blows, by the way.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions April 8, 2013 - 4:06pm

SConley: Communicate your decision with the editor first and clearly withdraw the story before sending it anywhere else. The mess you really want to avoid is having it accepted by a better magazine and then her suddenly getting her shit together and publishing it first. That would be awkward and could damage your reputation with a magazine you really admire.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies April 9, 2013 - 6:16pm

^yep, what Matt and Sound said. if it was me, first, i'd be pissed. second, i'd contact her however you have to in order to get her attention. if you've exhausted every point of contact (and be nice, still be professional and polite) then withdraw the story and start sending it out again. it happens.

i've had a story short-listed for 400 fucking days. the first editor called me even, thought he was going to accept it. very exclusive literary journal, less than 1% acceptance rate. he didn't take it, but passed it on to the NEXT year's editor. she has had it since then. since last summer. we've had like SIX emails back and forth, structure changes at the journal, fall submissions deadline, etc. on and on. but i'm still nudging her every two months, and it's still under consideration. it's insane, but i still want IN!

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies April 10, 2013 - 5:17am

I sent her an email, i'm waiting to hear back. I can do better, i'm most likely going to withdraw it. Thanks!

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies April 16, 2013 - 10:52am

"Patience, Grasshopper," she says.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters April 16, 2013 - 10:57am

WOW.  I'd be pissed if I got that response. 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like April 16, 2013 - 11:52am

^ seconded

While it might not be so bad coming after a real explanation, if "Patience, Grasshopper" was the whole message, you should tell her to smell the glove.

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies April 16, 2013 - 12:12pm

That's all she wrote. I'm treating this like a pending submission, if someone else accepts it before she's done, i'll withdraw it and she'll just have to redo her layout, i don't care. This is Ink Monkey Magazine, by the way. You can look at her website if you want but it's been the same homepage for about six months.

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies April 16, 2013 - 12:21pm

I noticed a typo on her site too, which is usually a dealbreaker for me. If i'd noticed it before, i wouldn't even have sent it to her.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs April 16, 2013 - 5:32pm

Typos happen, particularly if it's something that gets changed a lot rather than something permanent.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies April 20, 2013 - 4:13pm

SConley, yeah, I'd even start submitting to MORE places. That's no way to talk to an author. I MIGHT let it sit, but really, your heart is already telling you to pull it, so go ahead an withdraw. I'd be insulted if somebody said that to me, especially when they're really active on FB and other places. Although, I did recently get a rejection on my novel after 657 days, after SEVERAL nudges—like every three months for the past 21 months. But I really wanted to publish with them. Sounds like you don't really care about IMM. I'd withdraw, take the power back, yeah?