January 13, 2013

The Fate of Your MS

Have you ever submitted a nonfiction article to a magazine editor, but never received a reply?  You're not alone.  Many writers have experienced the “silent treatment.”  It’s frustrating because you not only wrote a wonderful piece, you have waited on the average of three months or more to hear back.  

What can you do?  Make sure you understand the writer's guidelines for that publication. Some editors only respond if they are interested in your work.  If however, an editor has stated that they will respond in a given amount of time and you haven't received a reply, then send a follow-up letter.  In your letter, include the date that the piece was submitted, the title, and a brief synopsis. Remember to thank the editor for his time.  Be polite and professional.

Hopefully, you’ll hear back with a decision on the fate of your manuscript.  But what if you fail to receive a reply on the follow-up?  Then it's time to move on.  That doesn't mean you should forget about that fabulous manuscript.  If you love what you have written, then you must find other markets that will make a good home for your work. 

You can shop for a market by searching online or by using books like the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market by Writer’s Digest.  Join SCBWI so that you’ll have access to the valuable market surveys.  Make a list of markets that publishes pieces like the one you’ve written.  Read some back issues.  Review the writer’s guidelines.  Edit your piece if necessary to meet this magazine’s needs. Write another query letter tailored to this new market.  And submit again.  Persevere.  The fate of your manuscript lies in your hands.   

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