A couple of blogs ago, I wrote about how waiting on a response is the hardest thing about submitting your writing. Today I present to you a part two, if you will. To bug or not to bug: that is the question.
We’ve all read or heard the immutable Laws of Query. Thou shalt keep thy proposal free of errors. Thou shalt be sure the agent’s name is spelled correctly. Thou shalt not follow up, even under extreme temptation. But is there ever a proper time to bug someone who is holding on to your submission?
I don’t exactly have the answer to this, which is why I’m tossing it out into the Scribosphere. In my own chaotic mind, the argument goes something like this:
Impatient Me: It’s been two weeks. What if the book gets lost in the slush pile?
Patient Me: It’s only been two weeks! Lighten up! This person is busy.
Impatient: Right. Busy. But I just read her blog. She’s just hanging out in Venice Beach! I mean, how busy can you be if you’re just eating street tacos and getting a unicorn tattoo?
Patient: A unicorn tattoo? Did she say that?
Impatient: I’m inferring. Anyway, this book is so timely. I mean, it’s literally ripped from the headlines. If someone doesn’t jump on it soon, the train will have left the station. We don’t want to miss the train! Tell her!
Patient: Trains come, trains go. If it’s the right person and the right time, it will work out.
Impatient: But how is she going to know she’s the right person unless she reads it? It’s been two weeks! (Pauses to reload). Oh, and what if someone else has a similar proposal out there? We have to beat them to the punch!
Patient: I did what I could. It’s out there.
Impatient: But maybe just a little nudge. You could…email her and tell her you forgot that you didn’t include your phone number!
Patient: Hmmm. That might work, actually.
Impatient: (eagerly) Yeah! You forgot to list your number, I know you did! Oh, and you should tell her that other agents have offered to sign you.
Patient: Did someone call while I was out? I don’t remember that.
Impatient: Uh…not exactly. I mean, there are a couple of other people who’re reading it, right?
Patient: Yes, but that doesn’t mean they’ve offered representation.
Impatient: So, it’s not a lie, really. If we could go into the future, it would probably be true, so you’re just telling the truth prematurely.
Patient: That’s really not—
Impatient: Have you noticed that the word ‘patient’ is also used to describe a person who is under medical care? I think you should let me make the decisions here. I’m clearly more capable.
Patient: I’m going to go and meditate now.
Impatient: Please! Don’t turn on that Yanni CD! For the love of God!
Do you have conversations with yourself? And do you bug your would-be agents/publishers or not? If so, under what circumstances?