Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Editor requests, then struck mute

I met with an editor for a major publisher at a recent conference. After listening to my pitch, she expressed interest and recommended a plot change. She asked me to send the full manuscript directly to her email rather than the submission portal. I made the change she recommended and sent the manuscript, being sure to put "Requested full" with the name of the conference in the subject line.

It's been several weeks without an acknowledgement. Yes, I know this isn't a lot of time, but she seemed anxious to receive it, even saying that I should include a note in my email about other possible changes we discussed "that could be made in the future" rather than doing more revisions now.

After sending, I realized that by attaching the manuscript as a file, it may have hit the spam filter or been deleted. Is there a way to remedy this? Another email? Should you actually put a full manuscript in the body of an email?

Never put a manuscript in the body of an email unless someone specifically requests you do so.
The no attachments rule is to avoid people sending malicious files; generally we assume writers we've met are not going to do that, but honestly if that's not a plot point for a thriller, I'm the Query Bunny.

Now, as to the question.
I bet you are in the spam file.
I'm always amazed what ends up in mine.
Priscilla is a beast.

Here's what to do:  email her (no attachments) and say "Just a quick note to confirm you received my ms, sent to you on X date."

If she doesn't have it, she'll know you sent it.
If she does have it, it will prompt her to respond.

If you don't hear back in 30 days, ping again.
If she hasn't replied in 60, well that's gonna be a bad day for sure, but have a drink, poke a few pins in the voodoo doll, dust yourself off, and start querying again.

I can see into your heart of hearts,  hoping this is your big break, and the entire publishing company is even now marching to your house with a fife and drum corps, publication contract in saddlebag. We ALL hope that about our submissions, even me.

Reality isn't quite as fun as our inner life (which is probably why we all spend so much time there) but reality isn't the end of the world.

She liked your work. Enough to ask for it. Enough to invest time in a critique. That's not nothin.


Kitty said...

Whenever I read about the agonizing process writers experience trying to write and sell a book, I think of the movie FUNNY FARM (1988). Andy (Chevy Chase) was the writer in the family and his wife Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith) was a housewife. While Andy suffered with writer's block trying to write his Great American Novel, unbeknownst to him Elizabeth wrote a children's book and sold it -- just like that.

ELIZABETH: Five thousand dollars, is that much for a first book?

ANDY: When did you write a book?

ELIZABETH: Well, at odd times. You know, a little bit here, a little bit there. I wrote it out longhand on legal pads. Then I Federal Expressed it to an address I found in your magazine. And then today when I collected the mail, there was an envelope, and in it was a contract, a check and a typed version of my manuscript.

See how easy that was? And she didn't even type it!

Fearless Reider said...

Would it be a terrible idea for the OP to also submit the MS through the editor’s submission portal, with a note about the request?

For those asking yesterday about the Vulcan nerve pinch, it’s a subtle but effective form of punishment whereby the pincher clamps the thumb and fingers into the trapezius muscle of the pinchee, at the tender point where the neck meets the shoulder. It will not fold one’s adversary neatly in half, a la Spock, but it will ensure speedy compliance with a parental directive. It will also foster decades of seething resentment, so I don’t recommend it as a parenting strategy. My folks were adherents of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and my dad’s parenting motto was, “If this is a contest of wills, be assured: mine will prevail.” (Yep, I included that in my eulogy last winter, laughing through tears). I’m now a happy member of the Episcopal tribe, where we dote on naughty children and cherish chaos in the pews. Live long and prosper!

Unknown said...

The fact that she suggested a plot change and asked to see the resulting full is huge. My agent did this with me (back before he was my agent). It took him over a year to find the time for a complete read but then he signed me!

KDJames said...

Janet wrote: ". . . reality isn't the end of the world."
Man, did I ever need to hear that today. Not even in a writing-related way.

This situation is a wonderful and positive position to be in, even though it must feel horribly frustrating. I love how, when one of us is pulling out hair and wailing, "What should I do, what should I DO?!", Janet just steps in all calm and businesslike and tells us exactly what to do. And it makes so much sense. Very comforting.

OP, I hope you hear good news in short order (and will come back and share it with us).

Bethany Elizabeth said...

It must be hard not to spin and spin in a situation like that. I can imagine it's so easy to be afraid of 'if I make a small mistake, they'll dismiss my MS even if they love it.' Which... I mean, maybe, but not likely -- especially if you're polite about it.

Kitty has inspired me to watch some movies about writers now. :) Chevy Chase isn't my favorite, so maybe I'll start with Barton Fink and go from there.

Gypmar said...

Fearless Reider,

My parents were Dobson fans too! When I was in 5th grade, my mom took me for a "special weekend" to tell me about the birds and the bees. She played me all of Dobson's cassette tape talks on puberty, pronounced "pooberty" in his case. My first print publication was about that weekend! I eventually ended up attending university with his son Ryan.

Anyhoo, thanks for the walk down memory lane. :)