The Extra Push
Whether you want to admit it or not, I will. Some writers are pushy about their work to the point of being obnoxious. I'm sure you've seen those folks who push to the front of the sign up sheets at a writer's conference to make sure they snag the editor of their choice. Or they are the ones who overnight their book proposal to you because they are certain they have finished the next bestseller and as an editor you will lunge toward their overnight package, rip it open and fall immediately in love with it.
OK. I'll admit to being a bit cynical in my tone but you get the idea of which type of writer I'm talking about here. They are the ones with the moxie and to some degree it works for them. They get attention but will it be the right type of attention? Several months ago, one of my writer friends approached me with her novel. This particular writer has written a number of successful nonfiction books and now had turned her attention to a fiction series. Internally I groaned and wondered why she had turned to fiction when her nonfiction was going so well but I listened to her pitch. She sent me a proposal and a sample chapter or two.
For many of these submissions, I've been quickly looking at them and sending form rejections. Instead, to this writer, I sent a note of explanation that it would be a while until I could process her submission for a number of reasons and asked for her patience. She responded that she understood and would be patient. Then a few weeks later, I got another nudge from this writer asking about her submission. Again I reminded her of my few possibilities and how her timing was off and I needed her patience. Again she responded apologetically about being a proactive author and would be patient.
Well, I suppose after four or six additional weeks her patience ran out because this week I got another email nudge from this author. I wasn't eager to read her work--because the timing still wasn't right but I opened the file, read a bit, the sent her a form rejection note. Her nudging worked and achieved a response. Just not the response she expected. The experience reminded me once again of the potential result you push for your own work when you push. This author was pushing too hard but she graciously accepted my form rejection and is now pressing on to other places. Whew. Did I need that type of author? In a microcosm I was experiencing how she would interact with others inside our publishing company. It's not the type of author I want to bring to my colleagues. In some respects, the experience reminded me of a baseball game where the umpire calls the player out.
It’s something else to consider the next time you are going to fire off an email and check on the status of your proposal which the editor has under consideration. Are you giving it the extra push which moves it from consideration into the rejection pile?