John La Farge (1836-1910)
watercolor on paper.
We know that writing is not an occupation for the impatient. Like the military, the order of business is HUAP -- hurry up and wait.
Nevertheless, seems writers on submission fall into two groups: those who fire and forget, and those who obsessively click their e-mail every five minutes (or watch the clock and twitch their drapes waiting for their postal person to come whistling up the sidewalk.)
Am still exploring the Absolute Write boards and forums for the good intelligence that may be found therein and have noticed discussions concerning nudges and nags: ie. how long after sending a query/partial/ full without response is it culturni to politely inquire about the status of a submission.
The time issue (the suggested period is after three months without response) is complicated by anecdotes of queries, etc. lost in aggressive spam filters, of recalcitrant computers or of transient agents, and confused by those agencies for whom, due to the staggering number of submissions, have decided to only respond if interested.
Some writers report that a gentle whatsup inevitably results in an immediate rejection -- leading one to believe it's better simply to contemplate the abyss into which some submissions, whether by snail or e-mail, sometimes fall, and to strike that agency and continue down the list.
However, if the submission is a query plus chapters, a partial or full and there is other interest, a writer may be understandably reluctant to be quite so cavalier.
I have to wonder though -- considering, for example, how some sneaky writers scrawl "requested material" on submissions when they are decidedly not -- that some busy agents (are there any who are not busy?) may automatically consider such inquiries as crude manipulation and thus reflexively reject.
Some rocks and hard places along the writer's way.