As writers, we require the daunting task of being read. We are a host upon which we invite people to feed. Without readers, our task is meaningless, unless you have either the modesty (or patience) of Emily Dickinson and can live with the idea of post mortem fame. But, if you are of the publishing-seeking sort—alas! We must needs be read!
Writers quickly grow accustomed to lack of response: Query letters to agents and publishers, tweeting, blogging, comments on others blogs, are at times met with a deafening silence and we learn to roll with it. But, there is one instance for which I lack the social graces and the acumen to respond. Perhaps you can help.
Scenario:A friend/family member/blogmate/etc. inquires about a MS you’re currently marketing. You give them your elevator pitch, without going deep, and they press on: “Sounds interesting!” “Ooh—I love the premise!”
“Mind if I read it?”
You tell them…"Perhaps," unwilling to commit.
You go home and think about it. Wonder if you’re being lily-livered and aren’t you supposed to let people read your work and you didn’t spend three months editing it for nothing and they actually asked to read it for cryin’ out loud! When was the last time someone actually wanted to read something you wrote?
What’s the worst that could happen? They might even like it. They might even think it’s the best thing they ever read.
So, you do it. You actually go to the library and spend seven dollars photo-copying the whole damn thing because reading on the computer gives them a head-ache, and you put the whole kit-n-kaboodle in a three-ring-binder like some English 101 writing project and send it first class (for another $4.00) and then…nothing.
(Insert crickets chirping here.)
Absolutely nothing. Being the creative type, you ponder your lost manuscript’s fate as weeks tick by. You imagine it stuffed into a book-shelf-- forgotten, or worse.
What’s a gal to do?This is where I need you.
1.) Someone please tell me you have experienced this phenomena and it is not just the tell-tale results of my crappy writing.
2.) What is the accepted social etiquette here? Do I inquire? Do I let it go? Do I send them a postage-paid envelope for the return of the manuscript? Do I let it just hang out there like a huge matza-ball? Do I offer my MS with a time-limit like I'm the Bookmobile? Or do I add it to my list of “thick-skin” inducers.
Thrice this has happened to me. I would greatly appreciate any guidance from those of you who have gone before. Hopefully there will be no crickets chirping in the comment section of this blog.