(Just a note, this article was featured in our November 2020 Newsletter. To receive our articles first, you can subscribe to our newsletter here.)
305 = The number of days from when I submitted a client manuscript to when I received the response from the editor.
Ten months. That’s a long time. You’d think I’d be upset or frustrated, but honestly, this is a love letter to that editor—and you know who you are.
During this crazy Covid year, I’m sending this heartfelt acknowledgement into the world to her. That response, regardless of how late it arrived, is a gift that I can give to my author client. It’s the gift of closure—an assurance that my author’s novel was read and considered. All during a time when editors are scraping together time to work between juggling family, kids, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, sick parents or relatives, and who knows what else.
So thank you, dear editor. Most sincerely. Your response was just lovely to have—even though it was a pass.
Most editors who flubbed a submission would slink into the night, never responding. I would have sighed and added them to my “do not submit” list. (And yes, agents have a black-hole list, and once you’re on it, editors, it’s hard to gain our trust again.)
To editors who might be reading this and might have a similar situation hiding in your submission closet—bite the bullet and send that letter to the agent. We will greatly respect you for doing it. Just trust me on this.
Junior editors, the best advice I can give to you is this: don’t ghost agents. Always respond. Even if the note is short and sweet. We’ll get it. As an established agent, I truly enjoy trying out submissions to newer editors who are looking to make their name and reputation. But I’m also finding that ghosting is happening more and more, and that some editors just don’t respond at all.
It’s going to be hard to land the good stuff, the next New York Times bestselling client, if you’re on agents’ “no send” lists.
Creative Commons Photo Credit: One Way Stock