Like many writers, I’ve sent stories, articles and poems out to magazines and anthologies – then heard nothing. The response time posted on the publisher’s website has long since passed, and I wonder do I query them about the status of my submission or just wait.
My solution has always been to give the publisher some extra time, then send a polite inquiry along the lines of: “I’m just checking to make sure you received my submission, [insert a title here]. If it was received, would you tell me the status of [insert title] so I can keep my submission records up to date. Thanks for your time.” I then add a salutation of some sort and my name.
First, I want to make sure the publication actually received my submission. I know some publications have an automatic “We got it” email which is sent to the email from which a submission came. But not every publication chooses to send such a response. Before I huff and puff about the tardiness of the publication’s response time, I need to make certain they’ve actually received my manuscript.
Second, I want to check on the status of the submission. Perhaps, they’ve made a decision and either have forgotten to send me that rejection or acceptance email, or they sent it once and it was lost in the ether (or my spam box). Maybe, their personal life has become complicated due to illness, work, family responsibilities, etc., and they’re behind on reading and responding to submissions. If this is the case, then it becomes my decision whether to leave the submission with them, or to withdraw the manuscript and send it elsewhere.
Third, if the publication is going belly-up (a colorful way of saying they’re going to close), then I can move on and send the manuscript out to another publisher. I’ve even received an email with this sad information accompanied by note from the editor suggesting another market which might like my manuscript.
By the way, everything in this post and in the article I’ll be linking to at the end holds true for illustrators, too. I recently inquired after 4 illustrations, and heard promptly back from the publishers. All 4 will be used (and I’ll be paid for them). The reasons for the delay in responding varied, but the reasons were the usual things in life which delay each of us from creative endeavors.
I hope you enjoy another point of view about when to inquire in: The Art of Submission: Inquiring After Our Work by Emily Lackey (as posted by She Writes).
Keep writing and keep reading. (Maybe even read one of my books!)