Saturday, 3 July 2010

Timing - Getting heard or getting binned

After a long week, you're finally ready to start querying/sending press releases/emailing requests for reviews. You spend the weekend pouring over your carefully worded submission and finally, with a flourish, you hit send.

Whoa! Back-track tiger. You can have that glass of wine but keep your itchy finger off that button.

Let's think about this. Most authors who are just establishing themselves still work. So it's fair to say that most writers attempting to contact agents (der de, der de, der de der de der, fin comes into view) publishers or media are going to send their beautifully crafted correspondance at the weekend. Result? BIG inbox for the recipients of our labour.

As you probably work, you can imagine the scenario. Monday morning. Ergh. Turn on office computer, log into mail, ERGH. Delete, delete, cast bored hungover eye over, no, no, no, NO.... Bacon sandwich, bit better, ergh, more, no, no, no... coffee - meeting.

Sending your 'stuff' at the weekend is not a good idea. Write it, save it and hold onto it. Now I've not done any market research on this, but having worked as a pretty pissed off PA for a major international film studio, I'd suggest aiming for an early afternoon time, mid-week. Say, 2pm. Your recipient will have settled into the day, shrugged off any hangover (hopefully, though mine go on for days) and be feeling a little more able to cope with emails from people they don't know.

Equally, be careful about sending correspondence to those you have been told are on holiday. It's Monday morning times 50 for them. Last time I worked for somebody (I imagine they hope as fervently as I do that this unhappy state of affairs will never happen again) I would come back to an 'inbox' of 100 or more emails. Unless I really had to respond to you, you were immediately resigned to the Fuck Off folder. When the receptionist at The Frogspawn and Toad Fancier Gazette tells you that the editor is away until the 12th, mark your diary to email the on the 21st (as long as it isn't a Monday).

And when that guy rings to sell you double glazing at 9am this Monday morning? Pity him. He doesn't get to evaluate and structure his pitch-list... but you do.


  1. So so true - I once came back from a week long holiday to 650 e-mails - needless to say, many of them went immediately into the circular file . . . as for the rest - well, I wasn't as elaborate in my answers as I might have been and, I'm sure, by the end I was quite curt.

    excellent advice - maybe why the one positive response I got was to a query sent on a wednesday afternoon (and I heard back in less than half an hour). Thanks for the reminder, it's a good one!

  2. Love it, Charlotte, can't believe I never saw it like that before. 2pm it is then...

  3. That's great advice, Charlotte. There isn't a worker in the free world who doesn't hate Mondays and everything that comes with it.