Authors need to avoid cricket syndrome. And we don’t mean watching too many cricket matches.
What is Cricket Syndrome?
When you think about an awkward silence, there are the crickets. Their chirping fills in what would otherwise be a void.
If etiquette says you should respond to something, but you’re silent, that’s Cricket Syndrome at work. Don’t let crickets rush into the gap that you should fill with good manners.
Cricket Syndrome in the Publishing World
You’re an author, dedicated to getting your work out into the world. Your time is precious.
When something doesn’t work out, some authors drop it. We don’t think this is the right choice.
If you send something to an editor or agents, and you receive feedback, you should respond. You should do this even if the feedback is not as glowing as you would have liked. Even if your book proposal is rejected, avoid Cricket Syndrome.
Thank the people who have taken time to look over your work. Following up and following through shows that you value an editor or publisher’s time.
An editor or agent who tells you they want a revised proposal deserves that revision. He or she sees something in your work that is worth a second chance. A revision request is an opportunity. Instead of fading out in silence, get to work! Pursue this potentially valuable opportunity. Ignoring feedback is perilous to your career.
The same is true when fans get in touch with you. If someone demonstrates how much they love your work, thank them!
An Example of Follow-Through
We understand that might not be sure how to respond to agents and editors. Negative or even neutral criticism can feel painful, especially when you have poured your heart into your work. We know from experience, however, that follow-through is vital. Set “achy” feelings aside and send a quick email.
Your response may be as simple as, “Thank you for your time. I appreciate your assistance. May I be back in touch with more of my work in the future?”
Continue your good work by marking a deadline for revisions on your calendar. When the time comes, send another quick email, such as, “Thank you for your interest in my project. I’m still on track to send it to you in December. I’ll be back in touch at that time.”
Don’t leave people hanging. Agents and editors are people, too. And, as we tell our kids, it’s impossible to say thank you too much. Don’t become a cricket!