I apologize for yet another long silence (except for my comments on TadMack's posts). I have this problem, which is that my writing confidence is easily bruised, and when it is, I don't feel like I have anything worth posting on a blog, even if it's just news tidbits. Which I'm also behind on. And being behind makes me feel even worse.
So I thought it might make me feel a little better to write a mini-rant about one of things that tends to bruise my writing confidence. That thing is the gradual disappearance of professional courtesy (which isn't only limited to the writing world, of course). I'm not referring to any one incident or offender in particular, but I have to say that it really bothers me when I send out a query (especially via e-mail, where a response postcard is physically impossible) and I do not receive an acknowledgement or a reply. When e-mail is involved, and I don't get an acknowledgement--even a terse "thank you, I will review your materials and get back to you"--I start to panic about whether my query was received at all, or if it ended up in the spam filter, and how soon is too soon to verify whether the e-mail was received, etc. etc.
When it's a hard-copy query...let's just say that it's REALLY BOTHERSOME (and I am actually thinking of somebody in particular here, a local newpaper which shall remain nameless) when you go to the effort to send in a query AND a very polite follow-up letter and receive absolutely not one word in reply to either. (Of course, I've long given up on submitting anything more to them anyway. They lost their chance!)
To me, this implies not just a lack of professional courtesy, but a complete invalidation of the work put into the sample(s) and the query itself. It makes me feel like my work wasn't even worth acknowledgement, like it was so bad that it didn't merit a reply. I realize that this is more and more the norm in the publishing world, and that big publishing houses are even starting to post in their writers' guidelines that if you don't receive a reply in X amount of time, consider it a rejection but don't expect a letter or your manuscript returned. Fine. But when you don't have this enumerated in your guidelines, I think a reply--no matter how short or how mass-produced--is appropriate. I'd rather have a quick no than wait around forever for somebody to say no.
Anyway, that's my rant on the subject. As you've probably guessed, I get a lot of noes....