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How long should you wait to chase up a submission?

August 21st, 2013

This can be a tricky question. Why? Well, because you don’t want editors to think you are one of those writers who mithers every two minutes. But, at the same time, you have a right to know what’s going on, especially if it’s been a while since you sent your work for submission. After all, it is yours and you are entitled to send it to other publishers for consideration if your first choice of market decides it’s not for them.

So, let’s look at how long you should leave it before you start thinking about following-up. It appears that waiting for editors or publishers to respond to your article submission is part and parcel of freelance writing. There are some exceptions to the rule – I’ve heard of editors responding to queries within a couple of hours, but most editors will take a great deal longer than that to reply. And, when you think about it, it’s easy to see why – they must get literally hundreds of submission per week and, when I say literally, in this case, I really mean it! But receiving the submission is only half the story. Editors then have to decide which are worth a read and which are not (that’s why your query letter is so important!) This process, as you can imagine, can be very time consuming, so you need to be prepared to wait at least a little while.

On the other hand, you want to earn your living as a freelance writer, so you have to sell your work. And, if the publisher you’ve sent it to is not interested, you need to know as soon as possible so you can send your work elsewhere.

So what should you do once you’ve sent the work off? It’d be fair to leave it about a week and then contact them and politely ask if they’ve received it and if they’re interested. This way, while you may end up with a ‘no’, at least you know the outcome and can move on to the next publisher.

If you still get no response, you can try sending another email a couple of weeks later, or you could even try calling the person you sent it to.

Sadly, sometimes no matter what you do, editors won’t respond at all. When this happens leave it a reasonable amount of time, let’s say three months, and then send your work off to other interested parties.

If you’ve had any funny experiences with or interesting stories about editors, do drop me a line.


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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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