Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Response - or lack of it

I'm getting really tired of publishers who don't respond within the time they say they will. Currently I'm waiting on three different publishers, none of whom have replied within their own stated response time. One (a well known US print publisher) has even forbidden writers from calling or emailing to check the progress of their manuscript. Since they haven't even acknowledged receipt I have no way of finding out if they got the damn thing in the first place! Another that I'm waiting on is a multi-authored anthology, and I can't keep the other writers informed because I'm not being told myself. It's all very aggravating, not to mention disheartening. You go to all the trouble of following a publisher's guidelines on formatting, content and style of submission, you post it off (and as most publishers are in America these days that's no small price to pay) and you wait patiently for the end of the response time to be up. And wait... and wait... and go on waiting... and in some cases, simply never hear.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that publishers and editors are extremely busy, harrassed people. Their desks probably have piles of unread manuscripts that resemble the Tower of Pisa and their bosses are probably holding them to all sorts of unreasonable targets and deadlines. But it's common courtesy to send a reply of some sort, and it only takes a minute to drop a one-line email to a waiting author to say 'sorry we haven't got back to you, we'll write as soon as we can'. And it takes only a few minutes to set up an automated response to submission emails, that will at least let writers know their material has been received. Some publishers can do it - so why not all? I honestly don't know. But I can't help thinking they'll start to lose the goodwill of potential authors - which can hardly be a Good Thing for their business....

No comments: