by Pamme Boutselis
While technology now offers writers far more convenient ways to submit manuscripts, articles, poetry and other types of writing to publications, one thing that hasn’t changed in the least is the need for respectful, professional follow-up on a submission. Email, texting and social media have created a more casual manner of communicating, but it’s important to understand that casual is meant for those you know and know well. It’s not the way to communicate on a professional basis, and it’s never what a writer should use when following up with a publication on submitted work.
Before one follows up, it’s also beneficial to check submission guidelines once again to ensure that pertinent information has not been overlooked. Most guidelines will state the length of the submission cycle, any restrictions on length or quantity of submissions allowed each cycle, when submitted writing will be reviewed and whether or not a writer will be contacted with the status of his or her submission. Contacting a publication with a question that has an answer already available online or in the print edition of the publication diminishes your professionalism and isn’t particularly respectful of the editor’s time.
Perhaps a review cycle or even two has gone by, and there hasn’t been a response. It’s perfectly okay to reach out and confirm receipt and review. Mistakes can happen; manuscripts can be misplaced. The process, however, should include a well-written, professional communication, whether it’s by email or letter (yes, there are still publications that employ that method of communication). If you want to be thought of as a professional, you need to communicate as one. Too often, casual inquiry emails are sent, many asking about information that was readily available online, or with misspellings, more than casual language or slang, all of which calls the ability and professionalism of the writer into question.
Do you want to be the writer that commands attention through solid communication skills or one that has editors shaking their heads, wondering how anything solid in the way of a submission could possibly have come from you? It’s in your hands.