Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Respond, Response (A Rant)

I'm blogging through the alphabet. There are many others participating in the 2014 A to Z Challenge too, which is the brainchild of Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out. We post every day in April except Sundays. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. My weekend wasn't long enough.

I've struggled to come up with an R word. I thought about it all weekend. I played around with the word Rewrite but since I'm not doing any rewriting, I figured my words might sound forced. Renovation certainly plays a huge part in my life right now, but I'll save that discussion for another day, with before and after pictures.  I thought about doing a Review of a book I just read but felt no passion for that either. When I finally crawled into bed with nothing to show for R, the word RESPOND flashed into my mind. It felt right.

I have a pet peeve. I absolutely detest getting NO RESPONSE from people I send gifts to, or articles or manuscripts. In this day of email, an acknowledgement is a breath away. There's no need for someone to totally disregard a stack of new towels, some mixing bowls, a hundred dollar bill or 200 pages of my heart and soul.

What are they thinking? Or are they thinking? Of course, I always hear "the parents didn't teach them to write thank you notes... or be responsible... or care... or work, or love... or RESPOND." And to that I say, I'm so tired of everything being blamed on parents. Yeah, yeah, I know it's true to a certain extent but at some point these young adults have to take responsibility for their own actions.

As for not acknowledging a manuscript, sometimes a paragraph stating If you have not heard from us within three months, you can submit elsewhere is included in the submission guidelines, but that's just a CYA kind of thing. I think it's a terrible policy. It gives them free rein with the delete button.

I remember always sticking self-addressed, stamped envelopes (SASE) in with my manuscripts. Those were the good old days. Doing so almost always guaranteed a response. At the very least, there was a certain amount of responsibility on the part of the editor/agent/office manager to acknowledge our stamp. I miss those days.

Email makes everything so much easier: easy to delete. easy to ignore. easy to say we never got it. But hey, just as easy to respond!

Writers everywhere deserve a response regarding that novel they slaved over, the article for which they interviewed three professionals, the query letter.

Aunts, sisters, moms, cousins and friends deserve a response to the gift they spent time choosing and mailing. So much for sharing in the joy, huh?

I realize I probably sound like my mother (and I've always fought that!) but I accept it now. I don't accept rudeness and inconsiderate behavior. I don't accept being ignored.

Do you send thank you notes? Are you an editor or agent who prefers not to respond? How do you feel when you don't get a response and why do you feel that way?


Lady Jai said...

I agree. I love to get a response from someone I went out of my way for, gift, or help, or whatever they needed. However, it is far and few between. I know I am guilty of it most times. But I am trying to be so much better about responding. I've also started randomly sending gratitude emails/letters. I need to do more, but with my life the way it is (caring for my veteran) well, I'm mostly exhausted. I know...excuses, right?! Well, it just happens. But for an agent or publisher not to respond, well, I take issue with that. I don't agree that their blanket statement "if you don't hear from us in x months...blah blah blah" That's just plain lazy. A simple "Thank you for submitting but we're not interested" would be nice to know instead of the unending wonder. :/

Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
My A to Z
Caring for My Veteran

Charles Gramlich said...

acknowleding a manuscript and sending thank you notes for gifts are two completely different things to me. The first is part of a professional relationship. The magazine or market should make it clear up front how the work will be acknowledged, or give a time limit over which it will be considered.

Thank you notes are a completely personal thing to me. I give people gifts because I want to, not because I expect acknowledgement. I would never expect someone to send me a thank you card in regards to a gift I give them. I have no right to require work from them because I decided to give them a gift. If I get a gift from someone, I will say thank you in person, but I don't set down and write a thank you note.