Learning on the job: Follow-up

Agents and publishers are deluged with submissions from people like me who think they can write a novel. Out of hundreds, even thousands a year, they usually choose one or two to represent. The odds of being selected are minimal. Sometimes they send rejections. Often they don’t. As weeks turn into months, you guess they’ve passed, probably in a couple of seconds.

The first time I chased a batch of article pitches, I assumed it would be the same. I felt like a nuisance- nagging editors on the off chance they could be worn down to “Oh go on then! If you have to!” Within an hour or two however, I’d had a couple of even apologetic responses seeking more information. A few days later, I had a new feature to write.

I’m slowly learning, it’s always worth following up pitches. Some people answer with silence, but many respond. There’s no way of telling which idea will take an editor’s fancy. And even rejections usually come with explanations- practical ones I’m happy to believe.

Who’d have thought the ultimate antidote to submitting a novel, was pitching magazine features?


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