Electronic Submissions

As I mention in an earlier post, I submitted my first novel to a publisher after pitching at the Spokane Science Fiction Convention (SpoCon) in August. My mistake was assuming that the email went through with all attachments, so I didn’t follow up when I got no confirmation back. The editor did, after all, ask the first three chapters and synopsis after the pitch.

So, being the kind, patient, and sensitive person that I am, I waited. And, waited.

After a bit more than two months, I sent a little note to the editor requesting an update. The last thing I want to do is get an editor upset with me. I have no standing in this business, so I think it’s appropriate to tread carefully for now. I used my most polite and diplomatic language in the note. It turns out, she never got the original submission. Whether it ended up in the spam bucket or just never arrived, I can’t say. But, rather than be upset, she kindly asked that I resend the material.

I did. This time I followed up with a note to check that it did, in fact, arrive. She responded that it did arrive and she had sent it on to the acquisitions editor.

Whew!

Okay, this means I wait more. I still have fingernails left. Well, a few anyway.

Nothing in this business moves quickly. When you read the submission requirements for book or magazine publishers, they often include statements that they don’t want you bugging them about your work for a specific time (one to six months). However, if they accept electronic submissions–and you don’t get some kind of confirmation that they got it in a reasonable time–I don’t think it is out of place to send a quick note to verify they got it.

Any number of things can happen to an electronic submission. You can make a typo in the email address. Someone, somewhere, will get a copy of your first three chapters and synopsis and wonder why. Your submission may end up in the spam bucket for one reason or another. The editor may not check the spam bucket and just empty it. It may have arrived, but in the frenzy of the convention, she may have accidentally deleted it, or shoved it into another folder and forgotten about it. Or, it just might not have arrived.

So, it’s a good idea to verify an electronic submission.

Keep writing.