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How long to wait before contacting publisher? (1 Viewer)

MichelD

Senior Member
I sent a publisher a manuscript August 20 after getting a positive response to three sample chapters of a memoir and getting a request to forward entire manuscript. Their guidelines say I will hear back in two months. I haven't heard back. How much longer should I wait before writing and asking for a reply?
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
If the amount of time they gave you has passed, I think a follow-up would be appropriate. That said, I've never been in your situation so I'm just going off of what I've learned in my own query research.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I am in the same situation. My research suggests I should contact them at some point past 90 days and it has been 100. Unless someone can convince me otherwise, I am contacting the publisher. I write short stories for the time being, so it's a magazine,
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
I sent a publisher a manuscript August 20 after getting a positive response to three sample chapters of a memoir and getting a request to forward entire manuscript. Their guidelines say I will hear back in two months. I haven't heard back. How much longer should I wait before writing and asking for a reply?
The answer is zero.
If you follow up you will only be bugging them.
Move on to other publishers.
It's like fishing, and you just had a bite. Keep drinking beer until you actually have a fish on the line.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
You could try "You don't appear interested, I don't want to bug you, but please can I have my MS back,? I'll pay postage.". That's assuming you would like it back, if you have a friend who makes you free copies at work I'd just go with Ralph and try elsewhere. Good to know you got some interest, some people don't even seem to warrant a rejection slip. Personally I find the whole thing pretty repulsive, that's why I have put my shorts on YouTube so people can have them for free. One more revision and I'll start reading the novel as well.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Personally, I would send a polite, non-personal follow-up letter a few weeks past the two-month guideline. "You had expressed interest in my manuscript, xxx, about, xxx. Your guidelines indicate I'd hear back after two months. Please let me know the status of your decision." Something like, that to indicate it is still in the running. Perhaps they have been super busy and are behind in their reviews. Perhaps they are inundated with manuscripts and don't know where to start. A gentle reminder may bring yours to the forefront.
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
You could try "You don't appear interested, I don't want to bug you, but please can I have my MS back,? I'll pay postage.". That's assuming you would like it back, if you have a friend who makes you free copies at work I'd just go with Ralph and try elsewhere. Good to know you got some interest, some people don't even seem to warrant a rejection slip. Personally I find the whole thing pretty repulsive, that's why I have put my shorts on YouTube so people can have them for free. One more revision and I'll start reading the novel as well.

Does anyone still accept paper submissions?
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
Personally, I would send a polite, non-personal follow-up letter a few weeks past the two-month guideline. "You had expressed interest in my manuscript, xxx, about, xxx. Your guidelines indicate I'd hear back after two months. Please let me know the status of your decision." Something like, that to indicate it is still in the running. Perhaps they have been super busy and are behind in their reviews. Perhaps they are inundated with manuscripts and don't know where to start. A gentle reminder may bring yours to the forefront.

Nope. Do not do that. That is the number 1 recipe for becoming persona non grata with that publisher. Unless you have some writing clout, they will simply toss your submission. After all...they haven't even started working with you and already you are turning out to be a diva.

Just move on, and don't look back.
 

MichelD

Senior Member
You could try "You don't appear interested, I don't want to bug you, but please can I have my MS back,? I'll pay postage.". That's assuming you would like it back, if you have a friend who makes you free copies at work I'd just go with Ralph and try elsewhere. Good to know you got some interest, some people don't even seem to warrant a rejection slip. Personally I find the whole thing pretty repulsive, that's why I have put my shorts on YouTube so people can have them for free. One more revision and I'll start reading the novel as well.

It is an electronic submission.

Nobody sends rejection slips any more.

Most of them just say "if you don't hear from us in two months, you won't."

This publisher at least says they will contact you.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Nope. Do not do that. That is the number 1 recipe for becoming persona non grata with that publisher. Unless you have some writing clout, they will simply toss your submission. After all...they haven't even started working with you and already you are turning out to be a diva.

Just move on, and don't look back.
How is that being a diva? It's the type of thing I write to clients or suppliers all the time. It's just a professional follow-up...no?
 

Arbus

Member
In the normal business world, it's acceptable. The true divas are the agents and publishers, who know they have you over a barrel and don't play by such petty, mortal norms. It's hard to know what exactly to do, so my rule of thumb is to follow your instinct. Bullies and monarchs expect fear and submission.
 

MichelD

Senior Member
I did contact the pubisher 2 1/2 months after submitting.

He wrote back with a very complimentary reply praising parts of the ms and making positive suggestions for improving it to make it marketable.

He did not promise to accept it, but said that it was a well-written, sensitive slice of coastal life. He said he could see some parts fitting into a future edition of his periodic collection of regional stories his house puts out. "Anyway, congratulations on a nice piece of work." he concluded.

So I am back with my nose to the computer stone grinding away.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I did contact the pubisher 2 1/2 months after submitting.

He wrote back with a very complimentary reply praising parts of the ms and making positive suggestions for improving it to make it marketable.

He did not promise to accept it, but said that it was a well-written, sensitive slice of coastal life. He said he could see some parts fitting into a future edition of his periodic collection of regional stories his house puts out. "Anyway, congratulations on a nice piece of work." he concluded.

So I am back with my nose to the computer stone grinding away.

Not the jackpot, but most encouraging.
 
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