Wednesday, October 03, 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Responding to Emails

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today’s option question:
How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

When writing my series, The Circle of Friends, I’d say yes - writing those five stories helped me through a lot of things from my past. They were therapeutic and just about every main character dealt with a struggle that was once my own.


Rather than an insecurity, I’d like to address an issue.

Back in the day, people would leave a phone message, expecting the person to return their call. Eventually, email took on this same role. Send a message and get a response.

Only people don’t treat email like a phone message anymore. It’s junk mail. Glance at it, ignore it, or just throw it away.

I know writers get frustrated with non-responses from agents and publishers. Guess what? Publishers get just as frustrated with non-responses from reviewers.

Dancing Lemur Press gets a ton of queries. Add a bunch of other emails (plus the 100-200 I get a day through my personal email) and it’s a lot. But Dancing Lemur Press still replies to every single one of those queries, no matter how bad they are. (Even to tell someone we don’t respond to mass-emailed queries.)

Reviewers, I know you also get a lot of requests. But guess what? It only takes ten seconds to reply with “No thanks,” “Too busy,” “Not my kind of book,” or “Not accepting reviews at this time.” You can even have a list of standard replies and just cut and paste. I know many say they won’t respond if not interested, but that’s just plain RUDE. Take a moment to show some manners and reply to messages.

Do non-responses bother anyone else?


Submissions are open for the 2018 Annual IWSG Anthology Contest

Word count: 3500-6000
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Theme: Masquerade
A Masquerade can be a false show or pretense, someone pretending to be someone they aren't. It can be a ball, a fancy dress party, it can be a mask. Open to interpretation.
Submissions accepted: September 5 - November 4, 2018
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (Double spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.
Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges: Elizabeth S. Craig, author; Elana Johnson, author; S.A. Larsen, author; D.L. Hammons, Write Club founder; Gwen Gardner, author; Kelly Van Sant, Red Sofa Literary Agency; and Kristin Smith, author
Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.


Has writing helped you through something? Does the lack of a response to an email bother you, too?

64 comments:

  1. Yes, non-responders bug me to no end. I've been dealing with this since I started writing professionally five years ago. It takes literally seconds to answer someone. Even when I got an offer of rep, I had three out of ten agents who didn't respond. Not even a "no thanks" or "not right for me" or "Good luck." Ugh. Seriously? I was shocked.

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  2. Non-responders bug me too. Like you say, it just takes a few seconds to reply with a stock response, but at least that way the sender knows it was received and can move on.

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  3. Thanks for speaking up. Yes, non-responses bother me, but it's given me the courage to not be like that. I do respond even if it takes a couple of weeks. Sometimes life gets in the way and you can't do something right away. However, when it does, I have it on my schedule to do it as soon as I get breathing room.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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  4. "Take a moment to show some manners and reply to messages." I absolutely agree. Happy IWSG day!

    Ronel visiting on Insecure Writer's Support Group day: Course Correction

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  5. I think it's rude when people don't respond. Sometimes I might forget but I do eventually respond.

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  6. I'm with you on the responses too!
    I think my life experiences have created the emotions that show up in the story -whether or not the triggers in the stories are the same :)

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  7. Great Post!! And so true. It drive me bonkers waiting for replies and none is coming...

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  8. Yes! I totally agree with you. I get some weird requests for people wanting to do guest posts about things that have nothing to do with writing and a lot of them are mass posts, but I respond with a polite no thank you.

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  9. Hi Diane - couldn't agree more ... not replying and acknowledging you've got the answer or are not interested = an essential commodity of politeness: probably not good English ... be polite! It shows you are professional ... and you and Dancing Lemur Press definitely fall into that category. Good luck with the anthology - cheers Hilary

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  10. I hear you. It used to drive me crazy. Then I started getting review queries like crazy, and I don't list myself anywhere as a reviewer. They just found one of my reviews on Amazon and decided to ask. I get it, I do. I've queried for reviews, but there are times when I can't get back to everyone. I intend to, but just can't get there. Then there are times when I respond like clockwork to every query. That lends me a little perspective and makes me more grateful for the reviewers who do come back even after 9 months. Basically, I've come to the point where I feel everyone is human and doing the best they can with what little time they have.

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  11. Ellen, and that's the main thing. I need to know the first email was received.

    Christine, that's only polite.

    Thank you, Hilary. It does show professionalism. I should've added that to my post.

    Crystal, sometimes that happens. But consistently not responding isn't right. (BTW - you want to review a book? LOL)

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  12. No response leaves people hanging. Even a form no thank you response works. No response leaves people wondering if it was received in the first place. Things still get lost in cyberworld. And there are services that can help or software.

    It's an interesting (and sad) business trend. I have a friend who's been interviewing for jobs and the trend there is multiple interviews and then no-response.

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  13. When I worked in customer service it was funny how things, people, behaved. Face to face, my customers were polite even when they didn't get the answer they wanted. On the phone, whoa, on the phone.... They said whatever they wanted and some of it made me hang up.

    I noticed a pattern then too. There is no excuse for Rude. And pretending we don't know who they are doesn't change a thing.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  14. I think it is good manners to answer or at acknowledge the email. A slow answer is ok as long as there is some response. Things happen, people get busy or overlook stuff or accidentally delete, done that one and not realized until later, oops. Happy IWSG.

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  15. Depending on the load, I understand if I don't hear back. At the same time, communication matters. I appreciate being replied to, even if it's something I not happy to hear. :)

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  16. Mindfulness it seems is something being lost today. I don't get too many emails myself, but I do get comments here and there, and I try my best to respond to them. I know I would want people to respond to me if the situation is reversed.

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  17. OMG, yes! Non-responses are the worst. Half the time, you don't know if they even got your email, or received it at a bad time and forgot about it, etc.

    There's no excuse for not sending out a form response at the very least. Hire a virtual assistant for a few bucks and have them do it.

    It's awesome that you respond to every query. Wish everyone would.

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  18. I get a lot of requests for reviews of books and other merchandise. I respond to each one in just a few words. It's rude, as far as I am concerned not to answer a query. Now I have to say "No" to Amazon queries. That's easy enough.

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  19. upset if people don't respond.

    Happy October

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  20. I recall having found a "request to review" email that I must have missed from an author. It was nearly 4 years old! But I responded (with an apology). Turns out the author still needed reviews, so I was happy to help.

    Thanks for this reminder though. Sometimes I do lose track of time and forget to send responses. But being overwhelmed isn't an excuse! :)

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  21. I'm a slow responder but I respond within a day or two and if I don't get back that quickly, I apologize for my delay. To me, it's basic manners. My kids better do the same ;)


    Elsie

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  22. I don't like non-responses either, but I know I do it myself sometimes, so I can't get too upset with people that do it to me.

    Man, how do you handle all those emails. I'd never get through them all.

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  23. Glad your writing has helped you. Okay, I am guilty of not responding sometimes to requests, but after reading your post, I'll be guilty no more.

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  24. I think non responses bother me more that I don't actually KNOW it was received and read. That anxiety is way worse than the slight.

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  25. It's wonderful that you always respond.

    Rather than take up all your comment space giving my thoughts, I'll just say it is rude not to respond. Even when people say they won't respond if not interested.

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  26. I don't worry about non-responses much, but I know I need to be on top of my e-mails more. If I'm sick or out of my usual routine, e-mail has a tendency to get checked twice a week instead of once a day.

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  27. I respond to anything specifically addressed to me that isn't spam or some copy and paste crap. Sometimes may take me a little bit with work, but I respond. The copy and paste crap though, if they can't send me an original email, then I can't be bothered to respond. Treat them much like those voice messages from robots I get saying "sale such and such at such and such" delete.

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  28. Holly, that is really unprofessional.

    JH, I feel it's only right.

    Consulting Writer - LOL! That's cool it still worked out though.

    Ken, now you know how I spend part of my day.

    Tyrean, I check mine multiple times a day. If I didn't, I'd be hit with 100's at once.

    Oooo, Pat, those I block on my cell phone! LOL

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  29. Yep, non-responders are rude in an age when copy-paste or basic automated responses are so easy to set up. Having said that, sometimes, I must admit, I'm a little slow with responding, but I do get there eventually.

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  30. I think that some people just don’t understand email etiquette. I always reply unless I consider it junk mail. But I do treat it like a telephone call. At work, if someone is sending a contract to me or insurance certificate through email, I always reply with a thank you. They’ve worked to get these things to me and I appreciate it, and so I want them to know.

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  31. In this day and age of scams and hacking, I screen my emails carefully. I don't reply to many of the outlandish ones. And those people who want to friend me on FB are usually not legit either. Sadly, I have grown so suspicious and distrusting. But, if I know the sender I respond as soon as possible. ASAP. Good manners never go out of style, and neither does common sense. !! Your good manners in responding to emails in a timely manner is commendable.
    JQ Rose

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  32. As a journalist, I encounter lots of this non-response stuff. If I send out cold emails to a bunch of people who do not expect my communication and do not anticipate any benefits from it, only about 10% reply (the best case scenario). On the other hand, if someone wants an article written - say an artist with a new show opening - the percentage is close to 100%. It all depends whether people want to talk to me or not. And on their innate courtesy, which is pretty rare. Almost nobody sends back "Thank you, but no, thank you."

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  33. Yes, I would rather get an email response. I guess some people feel so innundated that they don't think they have time.

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  34. Yes. It is very annoying when I don't receive a reply. You think that maybe the message got to the person, so you follow up, then you wonder if you're being bothersome, or they're annoyed with you. Just reply, people. It will save so much angst.

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  35. I had to follow up with an anthology submission and found out they were having issues e-mailing me. Sometimes the lack of a reply might not be intentional.

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  36. The lack of response infuriates me. Sometimes I put off answering, but I always do respond.

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  37. People who don't respond at all drive me crazy. Most times I shrug it off, but there was one I actually called out on it—she had asked for a sample edit on a tight deadline and cost estimate and then never replied afterward. I gave it two weeks, emailed with a polite, "Have you had time to review my proposal, or have you decided on another editor? I thought perhaps your lack of response was an indication that my email may have been sent to the incorrect address. As we are both professionals, I'm sure you wouldn't overlook replying to someone who put the time into an edit and thorough evaluation of your manuscript portion." To her credit, she apologized. I must have been really tired and stressed at the time, because I'm not normally that cranky, but this person had pushed me at the wrong time. I still can't believe I emailed that to her.

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  38. Non responders bug me too. I get very irritated when agents and editors after requesting a full manuscript don't reply even after a reminder. Its rude and pathetic behaviour.

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  39. I think it's common courtesy to respond.
    I think that I'm a bit slow responding to mail, but there's also the spam mail to weed out from legit mails.

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  40. Non-responses definitely get under my skin. Common courtesy is imperative in every aspect of one's life.

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  41. I respect and admire you for responding to your emails. I know it takes a chunk out of your day, you can ill afford. Back in the query days, I found it extremely irritating to be blown off by a nonresponse.

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  42. Yep, it only takes a moment to hit reply and send a message.

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  43. A resounding YES!!! Failure to respond to emails is a huge pet peeve of mine. I served in a statewide position for about ten years, and I frequently got emails requesting information. I often put a lot of time and effort into getting the info they wanted, and then I'd compile it and send it to them... never to hear from them again! Not even a stinking acknowledgement of receipt. I'm afraid it's a sorry sign of the times. Courtesy seems to have gone the way of thank you notes.

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  44. Lynda, that's all they have to do is copy and paste. I don't even do that in query replies and it doesn't take that long.

    Gwen, that's just professional.

    Thank you, JQ.

    Olga, and that's not surprising with cold emails.

    Mary, yes it would.

    Lynda, sometimes you just have to. I have a list of reviewers I intend to send an email to asking about the non-response. In as polite a manner as I can, of course.

    Susan, that is extremely rude!

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  45. Hey L Diane like a lot of 'new' media, there hasn't been time for people to get their heads around new accepted norms. To me, it's just good manners to quickly reply to an email. Just today I sent out bulk emails to my students asking for a simple reply YES if they received it, no further action needed. Got 2 replies so far. Let's hope for more...

    But like all social media, there's manners and then there's not.

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  46. I am so bad about responding back to emails in a timely manner. :( For months I couldn't due to my broken arm but I am now trying to respond back on Friday my day off and today my inbox is overflowing. Have a great weekend.

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  47. I've always said I could wallpaper my living room in rejection letters. Doesn't bother me a bit though. At least they respond and once in a while offer personal advice or encouragement. Very cool that you respond to all!

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    1. Getting a response, good or bad, is better than none at all.

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  48. Yeah, that's super annoying. I do my best to respond to emails within a day, a week at the latest.

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  49. I don't think the no response from agents bothers me anymore. I do appreciate the ones that do respond, even if it is generic. The ones that actually throw in a bit of critique are usually bits of gold.

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  50. Our lives do show up in our writing. I think it enriches the writing, especially character formation.
    As for answering emails. It goes without saying, especially if it's personal in nature. But folks don't always take the time.

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  51. You're right, Diane! A response is the polite and kind thing to do. I sometimes fall behind, but I eventually respond to everyone. Kudos to you for making it a priority!

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  52. Yep. Non-responses bother me, too. Although not quite as much as they used to. I too, get a lot of emails but I make every effort to answer all of them. If someone took the time to communicate with me, as long as it's not spam, I think it's only polite to respond.

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    1. That is the best way to look at it.

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  53. I must admit I'm bad at answering emails and messages (through the phone/social media). A lot of it is anxiety related (especially from the phone). Some of it, though, is the feeling that the author/publisher didn't do their homework. I have on my websites I am no longer taking review requests, yet I still receive the occasional one. And then there are some that are genuine spam. That said, if I've established a relationship of some kind with a person, I am more likely to respond.

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  54. It drives me mad when I don't get a simple "no, thank you" from a reviewer. I sent a bunch of review requests a couple of months ago and only heard back from three. I believe it's polite to reply back, even if you want to pass. Don't just leave people hanging and ignore them.

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    1. Reviewers seem to be the worst. Then you have to wonder - did my email go through?

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  55. Whenever I'm away from my laptop upon my return I always kiss the walls and floor of my living room lol. There was a time I wrote a fundraising piece on my blog. Not bad i had good results.

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  56. I'm not sure why people can't respond. It only takes a second. Now, sometimes there will be a delay in my responding, but I always try to send a response. The same courtesy in return would be greatly appreciated.

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  57. Loved 101 Publishing. It was helpful. You are very knowledgeable.
    So glad we got to meet:)

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    1. I'm so glad you made the drive. The director is going to work to get me back next spring for 102 which is about the promoting.

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  58. I could write books about how much writing has done for me.
    Yes, failure to respond bothers me.

    Hope you're enjoying October, Diane.

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  59. I don't like if people don't respond because I then worry they didn't get the email. I do also try to give people more time for emails that involve a commitment (date, review, blog post etc.) because I know people get so many emails a day and most people work full time jobs (where they get more emails). I know I try to respond to emails as quickly as I can- but sometimes an email takes me a while longer to respond- especially if it is something I have to coordinate with my co-author.
    ~Jess

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