Tacit Pass

You know what’s worse than hearing “no”?

Not hearing “no”.

I’ve gotten away from the habit of querying the manuscript for my novel of late: partly because I got distracted by Life In These Times (haven’t we all) and partly because I just didn’t have a very good sense of whether I was going about it in the right way. My list of submissions was modest: I’ve heard of other writers talking about sending five or ten queries in a day, while I was averaging two or three a month.

I kept reminding myself to be patient: that agents and publishers receive a lot of material and it just takes time to get through it all. I kept telling myself it was appropriate to wait for weeks for a response. I kept telling myself it was appropriate to wait months for a response.

I don’t know if I was telling myself the truth.

Some of the individuals that I queried were clear that “No response after [x] weeks means a “pass”- a disappointing way to get an answer, but at least an answer. I just went through¬† my list to cross off all these tacit passes and realized how many queries there were still out there in limbo. Some of them I’d submitted last year. I mean, I realize that the world is in chaos right now, but eight months is enough time to gestate a human being: it seems like it ought to be enough time to get an answer.

So, I went down my list and sent out a handful of follow ups, but I don’t really have much hope of hearing back by now. Mostly, I just wanted to be able to close the loop: it’s not pleasant to get a¬† rejection, but at least it’s quick and finite. The very epitome of ripping off the Band-Aid.

Anyway, I’m a bit frustrated with it all right now, but at least now I feel like I can move forward with a reasonably clean start. Assuming anybody is accepting submissions right now. Who knows, maybe reading submissions is a welcome escape from quarantine.

One can hope.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 14, 2020.

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