The publishing industry doesn’t give any free passes. Ever opportunity, conversation, meeting, email, and phone call has a price. Nothing is free for anyone.
What is the price? Time.
Time is the most valuable currency that a writer, publisher, editor, or agent has to give. Those emails, phone calls, etc. also have a finite price tag. Someone is on the clock somewhere, but those dollars are not as precious as time.
When a writer meets with an agent or editor at a conference, it takes time away from that persons other tasks, family life, and/or work schedule.
When an author pitches an agent, it takes time. Every moment that agent spends looking over your submission is a slice of time they cannot devote to another task or project.
Writers need to honor the value of other people’s time. Make it work for you and not against you. Don’t prod, prompt, or pester an editor or agent for more time. Be prepared to utilize every moment you have to connect. Treat time like a commodity.
One of the most frustrating things for an editor or agent is to spend time reviewing submissions that are unprepared, not suitable for the agency or publisher, or ill-crafted. They can’t get that time back and it will cause your name to have a negative association with those persons.
Instead, take time to ensure you submit only adequate work that is well suited for your potential agent or editor. Don’t waste their time.
Remember also how limited time is and refuse the yearning to email the agent or editor for a detailed response or critique. That is not the role of an agent or editor and your lack of knowledge could be considered disrespectful of their time. Make sure to thank the agent or editor for the time he or she committed to your project and share that you look forward to submitting more projects in the future, if and when you have a project appropriate for their agency or publishing house.
Every conversation, contact, or email leaves a mark. The mark you want to leave is one of a respectful writer who understands the industry and respects peoples valuable time.