by Raelene Gorlinsky
I am an aspiring writer who pitched at a conference and was asked to send in a synopsis and partial. Well, I pitched to one editor of a major publishing house and then caught another in the hall who liked me and agreed to have me send the same to her. This was in June and I sent a professional query letter, two page synopsis and first three chapters to both by the end of the week. One month later I emailed and said that I was looking forward to any comments that they might have.
Now here it is, September, and I have not heard from either. My question is this - do I keep waiting, email again or pull the plug? I actually would like to revise the book one more time but am afraid to touch it until I hear back. It seems like a bad idea to send them new chapters because I decided to expand the story a bit. I want to be professional and build a career so doing this right is very important to me.
Start by checking the publisher's website to see what this editor or publisher says is their typical response time, and what they say about checking back with them. I know you are anxious, but for many publishers, especially if you are talking about a big NY traditional pub, three months is not a long time for response to a partial, even if requested.
Generally, sending a polite email asking about status is perfectly acceptable. Make it short. Give your name and book title and summarize the background - where you met the editor, that s/he requested the partial, and when you sent it.
What you should be doing while waiting to hear back is writing your next book. If the editors you submitted this first one to end up rejecting it, or never respond to you, then you can consider revising it and sending it elsewhere. But for now, get moving on another book!