Is waiting for an email from an agent or publisher more preferable than a letter delivered by a postman?
James Herriot writes:
“They kept coming back with regular monotony and it’s a terrible thing when you hear the postman pushing the rejected manuscript through the letterbox. It lands on the floor with such sickening thud. Again, again, and again, they were returned. I grew to hate that sound. And there wasn’t one word of encouragement with any of them.”
“Then the postman comes round. Reject. Reject. Reject.” Scott Nicholson writes. “I pinned my rejection slips to a bulletin board, until the piles were so thick that the thumb tack wouldn’t penetrate.”
Stephen King, who whenever he got a rejection would stick it on a nail, writes:
“By the time I was fourteen … the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing.”
When querying agents and publishers are done by mail, a SASE, self addressed stamped envelope, is included with the submission. This is the writer’s way of making sure that he/she would definitely get an answer no matter what the outcome.
With the advance in technology, and its promise to make things easier for us, I find emailing more stressful. Some agents and publishers have an automated reply system that acknowledges the receipt of emails while others promise to respond within a certain time limit. There are those professionals who neither reply nor acknowledge receipt of query. This process of not knowing overshadows the pain and disappointment of rejection for me. I hate suspense, and I don’t like to be kept in the dark for too long. I do understand that these professionals have a shit load of proposals to read but six to eight weeks is far too long a time for me to wait. It’s nerve wracking because I start thinking what if my email was marked as spam or junk or was deleted and never read? Should I try to submit it again? Just this once? I get restless and go back to my ‘sent’ emails to check if I have the address right. I go to my ‘inbox’ so very often that sometimes it feels like a million times a day. Before going to bed, upon waking in the middle of the night, early in the morning. For me it’s anguish ad infinitum.
The postman on the other hand, doesn’t deliver on Saturdays and Sundays. He doesn’t come in the evenings and six o’clock in the morning. So maybe I can have some peace if I use the post instead of the internet. But then I have to print the letter, put it in a stamped envelope, include a SASE, drive to the nearest post office. What the heck! I think I will just press the ‘send’ button and remember:
“I reject your rejection!” Snoopy