Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Long Should I Wait for a Reply?

You did it. You fought your fear and submitted your manuscript to a magazine. Now every day you check your e-mail 27 times hoping for a posItive reply. Okay, it's 107 times, but who's counting?

How long do you need to wait before asking the editor for an update about the status of your piece? The general consensus here is 4-6 weeks (longer if you are submitting to a book publisher). Editors are busy people, and often just need a little time to catch up.

More often than not, however, I've found that editors have not even read my piece when I contact them eight weeks later (which is how long I usually wait). But how do you give them a nudge without seeming desperate or rude?

Here's a little example:

- Dear Editor
- Thank you for allowing me to submit my piece to (name publication).
- Since it has been a few months since I submitted the piece, I was wondering if i could simultaneously submit it with another publication.
- I would still love for the piece to work out with (name publication). Thanks again for considering it.


Non-desperate Writer

Your turn to chime in. What's been your experience in corresponding with editors? What have you learned?

PS - What do you think of Erynn's new blog design? I love it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. The good news is if you have an agent, they get to do all the checking for you and have learned how to do it professionally and without making you look impatient. That's just another reason to have an agent! (besides the fact that, duh, most CBA houses require an author to have one anyway) ;)

    If you get to pitch to an editor at a conference and are requested to send a submission without an agent, try to ask in that meeting what the time line is for checking in. This is perfectly okay to do and I've heard COUNTLESS editors/agents over the years say "I'm so glad you checked with me, because I never got your original email or original submission". GLITCHES HAPPEN!!! MAIL GETS LOST! They realize that and understand. So don't worry about being a pest by asking, but don't ask after two weeks and don't ask more than once in a 6 months period, is my thought.

    When it comes to agents, I've found that a lot of them state on their website how long to wait before checking in. So do your research. You don't want to email the agent and ask about your submission at 6 weeks if they clearly state on their website to give them 8 weeks.

  2. Awesome post, BJ! And thanks - glad you like the design!

    I second Betsy - if you are writing for a book publisher, it really pays to have an agent. That being said, some agents won't even take a double glance at you or your work if you've never been published. It's a HUGE catch-22 and one of those things that just doesn't make a lot of sense in the publishing world.

    I wrote the Lauren Holbrook series without an agent and it ended up that it DID get lost at NavPress (however, I didn't ask about it. I just figured that they weren't interested like the countless others I'd proposed it to!). When my sweet, sweet acquisitions editor (who is now a dear friend!) found it and loved it, it was a completely out-of-the-blue HUGE surprise for me! SO YES - check in with publishers after 6-8 weeks and I loved BJ's "form" letter - very polite, very to the point.

    Great, great post BJ! :)

  3. Great post! I'm waiting to hear from an agent, and it's good to know I'm not the only one checking my email like a maniac :). Oh, and the design is ADORABLE - love it love it love it! You guys look good on the pics too!