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    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Must Have Called a Thousand Times



How many times do you write, call, email, etc until you get a response? What’s the right amount of time to wait until you nudge an agent, an editor, the person with your life and livelihood in their hands? Are you a pest or pro-active? Too demanding or passive? If I write too soon, will I scare her off? If I wait too long, won’t I be forgotten. The worst is when you start bargaining: I’ll call if/when the moon is full, when the laundry’s done, after I walk the dog, tomorrow, the day after that.

Does the squeaky wheel get the grease?

9 Responses

  1. It all depends.
    You seem like only person who can answer that question. Tell me!

  2. You keep calling until they give you what you want..

  3. I spend an enormous amount of mental energy on these questions daily. The problem is that every answer seems to be wrong.

    But then once in a while the fog clears and I send out a perfectly polite and appropriate email and I wonder why I made myself so crazy.

  4. Not hearing anything after a month is an appropriate time to make an inquiry.
    Squeaky wheels are annoying.

  5. “Does the squeaky wheel get the grease?”

    I’ve heard that this is so.

    Agents, editors, and publishers who solicit submissions or queries from writers need to stay on top of their business. If they don’t respond in a timely fashion, they lose the opportunity. There are plenty of players in this game.

    And the response of no response is no response. It is immature and unprofessional.

  6. if you write a professional letter/email and don’t get a response in one month, i would think a follow-up letter/email would be acceptable. but we all know small offices lag on the letter/email front. so i’d keep that in mind especially if it’s clearly stated in the sub guidelines.

  7. Ah, Yes; The “Decent Interval.” I Guess We All Have Our Ideas About That, Most Of Which Have Been Knocked Into The Proverbial Cocked Hat By Social Media & Apps.
    Respecting Time, Yours & Others, Is from A Lost Book Of Manners, Or, Perhaps, ‘Twas Always Thus. Doctor’s & Editor/Publishers Are The Most Grievous Offenders: Your Time Is Worth Nothing, Theirs, Everything. The Glacial Pace Of Acknowledgments, Current Status Or Expected Time Of Verdict On Writing And/Or Medical Updates Is Contrary To The Generally Agreed Upon Passage Of Time.
    It’s like Expecting A Statue Garden To Break Into A Full Company Ballet. Yet, In My Experience, I Wouldn’t Want To Trade Places With Self Important Editors & Publishers, Or Flaming Diva M.D.’s.
    Even the Great Singer Of TIME, David Bowie, Knew That His Time Would Come, Sooner Rather Than Later, & His response Whas To Create A Masterpiece About The Anti-Star. We Should All Do So Well. Once I Put A Work Out There, Knowing I Have Followed The Rules, Then I Decide How Much Time I Have To Spare Before Making My Presence Felt. In The Interim, I Keep Working, Especially Being Older If Not Wiser, For None Of Us Knows When The Hour Will Come.
    Sean Andrew Heaney
    P.S. Betsey: LOVE The Telephone!

  8. The worst, even worse than MD’s or publishing industry people, are building contractors. The squeaky wheel gets you nowhere with them, esp. if your project is a modest one. They don’t call back, their sub-contractors are lame and want to work at night, if they show up at all, and overall the end result just isn’t worth the hassle. Dealing with them makes the black hole of submitting/querying/etc. tolerable. At least your toilet & washing machine are functioning as you wait.

  9. The squeaky wheel DOES get the grease — but only if the vehicle is worth saving. If the vehicle lacks true value (or is a real pain in the arse), it may be better to give the whole thing away, squeaking or not.

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