Authors and, I’ll admit, agents, often feel that checking in on a submission is an easy way to get rejected. It always feels that the minute you check in the agent (or editor) responds quickly by rejecting your work.
If checking in results in a rejection it must be true that checking in on a submission results only in rejection. Look at me using freshman logic in a blog post.
While I know it feels that way, I can tell you from personal experience, it truly isn’t.
Checking in on a submission results in getting an answer and the closure that can bring. It might be a rejection, but you weren’t rejected because you checked in, you were rejected for whatever reason the agent (or editor) gave for not feeling like your work was for them.
Here’s what happens when you check in.
1. You Push the Agent/Editor to Read
Sometimes we all need a kick in the pants. You know, someone to remind us to get to that thing we didn’t realize we’ve put off for so long. It might be a submission, it could the strawberries we’ve been meaning to use up. Whatever it is, there are times things get away from us and that little kick puts things in motion.
2. Timing was Just Plain Weird
I try to respond to all submissions in 8-12 weeks and that’s not a random, arbritrary number. After years of agenting, I’ve come to realize that’s pretty close to the average actual timeframe in which I get to submissions.
I know, a lot of you have waited longer recently and I apologize for that.
But, you might be amazed to learn how many times I spent a weekend reading, came in to write responses, and passed on something the same day the check-in came. It happens. It’s weird. I don’t know what to say.
If any agent ever rejects you simply because you checked in, they weren’t enthusiastic enough to offer on the book anyway. The point of checking in is to get an answer, to get closure and to move on. Sometimes it hurts, but the moving on is the important part.