This last week I learned how absolutely VITAL it can be to FOLLOW UP ON SUBMISSIONS!
As you know, gentle reader, in April I was jumping for joy when an agent emailed that she wanted to take a look at my manuscript, Charity MacCay and the Almighty Dollar. I anxiously gave it one final look through, fixed the pagination, did my umpteenth spell check, and only a few hours after receiving the agent’s request, I sent off a pdf of my manuscript to her. Of course I also checked the email address and subject line a dozen times and made sure everything was just plain perfect.
And then I waited. And waited.
I waited for over 100 days.
Yes I know, the world of traditional publishing can move at a glacial pace. But seriously, 100 days after this wonderful agent sounded enthusiastic about my novel? Finally I sent a brief, polite follow-up query, as in, Have you had a chance to look at my manuscript yet?
Only minutes later her assistant emailed me back with profuse apologies. She and the agent had been unhappy when they requested my manuscript and it never came. But my follow-up query had prompted the assistant to check her deleted messages and spam folder and… THERE WAS MY EMAIL WITH THE ATTACHED MANUSCRIPT IN THE *#!&! WRONG FOLDER!
She was SO sweet and SO apologetic and yes, they would now look at Charity MacCay tout suite. And of course I emailed back that I too have experienced similar strange acts of hostility by emails services and servers (this is very true, especially when using Outlook at my job), and that yes, I’d still love for the agent to have a look at my manuscript.
This assistant also thanked me for FOLLOWING UP! And I’m so glad I FOLLOWED UP! Because if I hadn’t, they would still be wrongly assuming I’d snubbed them and I would be drowning my rejection sorrows in a bottle of very strong wine.
I only wish I had emailed this assistant the day after sending my manuscript just to confirm way back then that she had received it. Live and learn.
So let this be a lesson to you, my fellow writers. Even when you do everything correctly, or an agent or editor does everything just right, the malicious, petty, unpredictable minor Greek god of the internet can still technologically mess with you. It can mess with your head, it can mess with your emails, and worst of all it can mess with your manuscripts.
Have you ever had this kind of experience too? If so, you have my sympathies.