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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