Mailbag time! Here’s my first reader question (well, two part question) of the blog challenge:
“Is silence the new no? Should I check back in with editors I’ve pitched or just let it go?”
To answer the first question: No, silence is not the new no. I’ve been freelancing since 2002. Some of my queries went unanswered then, and some of them go unanswered now. This happens for a lot of reasons: an editor doesn’t have time to send a rejection (and to be fair, I don’t answer every PR pitch I’m sent), or they’ve filed it away for another time. I’ve had editors respond to a query over a year later. Here’s one story pitch that was answered after a long gap in time even though it wasn’t a cold email pitch.
To answer the second question: Yes, you should ABSOLUTELY follow up! I usually follow up two weeks after I send a pitch unless it’s an extremely timely story (then, I’ll follow up a few days later and say I’m moving on if I don’t hear by X). I’ve lost count of how many times a pitch was either kicked to a spam folder or misplaced and that, after following up, those pitches became assignments. A few times I’ve even realized that I forgot to hit send on the pitch (I solved this by keeping far few emails in my “drafts” folder).
So yes follow up! If an editor doesn’t get back to you, do the same thing you’d do if an editor said no: reformat and pitch to someone else.