Q: I submitted an article to a magazine editor three weeks ago but I haven’t had a reply. What should I do?
A: Firstly, be patient! Editors are often overwhelmed with material from writers and it can take a while to work through the pile of submissions. It’s not unusual for writers to wait months before they receive a response, especially if the material hasn’t been requested or you’re unknown to the editor.
If you have posted material: Assuming that you have sent in the obligatory stamped self-addressed envelope for a reply, wait for about 6 to 8 weeks before you follow up. Then, simply contact the editorial office to ask if they could confirm receipt. It’s not advisable to start pushing for a decision because it’s likely that your manuscript will be returned unread.
As any established writer will tell you, the waiting between sending off your material to gaining a response is an awful time and it’s best to occupy yourself with the business of writing more material and sending out more copy!
If you feel that an editor has had your material for an unacceptable time, then you can choose to withdraw it and send the material elsewhere. But, keep in mind that some writers have had work accepted a year or more after submission, so it sometimes pays to exercise patience.
One thing that does annoy us writers – and rightly so – is when we have sent a stamped s.a.e. for a response and don’t ever receive one! What happens to all those un-used postage stamps???
Writers: What’s the longest you’ve ever waited for a reply and what was the outcome? Share your experience and post a comment!