Time for another Hi Susan post. Sara asked the following-
I submitted my synopsis and first three chapters to an editor two months ago and I haven’t heard anything about my submission. When should I contact them to ask what’s happening?
I know how frustrating it is when you’ve sent your work to an editor or agent and it seems like it’s taking forever to hear back from them. Editors are busy people and most of them are not only looking at submissions as part of their job but actually editing manuscripts too, so yes, we have to give them some leeway.
My first tip is to check the publisher’s web site to see if they give any indication as to how long it takes for a response. Lots of them are kind enough to say something like, response time is 6-8 weeks. I always add a couple more weeks and then here’s my next tip-
Put together a short letter saying something like-
Dear Ms./Mr. Editor,
I’m following up with the synopsis and chapters for my manuscript, My Story, I sent to you on April 12th, 2018. Just wondering if you’ve had a chance to read it and if you’re interested in seeing the complete manuscript which I’d be happy to send you.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.
Sometimes this is all it needs to get them to look for your submission, read it, and give you a yes or no.
Sometimes, and this happened to me a lot, they lost it or never remembered seeing it and asked me to resubmit it.
If this doesn’t get a response, and if this is a publisher you’d really like to work with, then I’d send one final letter like this one a month later. If that doesn’t work then move onto the next editor or agent.
I found that agents took more time to get back to me, and (with both agents and editors), if it was around conference time when they usually get more submissions after giving a talk or inviting authors to send them manuscripts, the wait was longer.
I also used the following advice given to me by my PR mentor be persistent but never become a pest when you’re following up with editors. In other words don’t be shy about approaching them about something you’ve submitted but don’t get to the point that you’re e-mailing or calling them everyday and they remember your name for the wrong reasons.
Sound advice for authors too!