Wednesday, 1 May 2019


Void means empty or vacant, it can be an unfilled space (literal or metaphorical) even a vacuum. The inside of The Sphere is just a void.

When we sold our old campervan nothing could fill the void in my life (until we picked up the new one!)

It describes something useless or ineffectual. In a legal sense it means invalid. 

A thing, place or situation may display voidness, or be voidable - they don't sound like real words, do they?

Voided isn't the past tense of void – that's something used in heraldry where the central area is cut away to show the field. 

Today's the first Wednesday of the month, so this is an Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Do join us if you'd like to.

I submit a lot of work to editors. Sometimes I'm sometimes a little nervous about doing so, especially when pitching or submitting somewhere new, but it's not a major insecurity. 

Like everyone who attempts to get work published I get rejections. Of course I'm not happy about any of them, and from time to time they'll dent my confidence a little, but they're just a part of the process we have to accept. Even if we're initially upset or deflated we'll get over it and move on.

What I really dislike, and which does cause me to feel insecure, is sending my work into the void and never hearing back. Did it arrive? Should I chase it up? Can I send it somewhere else? I hate the not knowing – and it goes on and on. Will they reply this week?  Or next? 

Eventually I send a polite query. Was it too soon? Will they be annoyed? Why haven't they replied to that? Did the query reach them?

What do you do if you don't hear back – and how soon do you do it? And how many times?

If you submit to this free to enter novel writing competition you won't entirely be casting your work into a void, as although unsuccessful entrants won't be contacted you can check the shortlist in September and will know if you made it that far. The winner gets £3,000 – which might fill a void in your bank account!

If you haven't entered Friday's competition to win a paperback, there's still time to enter and if you'd like a bargain ebook, you can download Keep It In The Family, a collection of 25 feel good family related stories is reduced to 99p (99c) for the next few days..


J.H. Moncrieff said...

Argh, I can't stand the no-response trend! How long does it take to send a form letter?

I'd usually give agents three months. If I hadn't heard anything, one nudge. If they continued to ignore me, I considered it a rejection.

Hang in there--you'll get through it.

Michelle Wallace said...

This just reminded me that I'm still waiting to hear from a certain online magazine from about two years ago. For all I know, the magazine could now be non-operational...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It is annoying when people don't reply. Remember when people returned phone calls? The same courtesy is lost with emails.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, it's hard when you submit and don't get a response. Many agents just say that if you haven't heard from them in a certain number of weeks, they aren't interested. I get a lot of emails for my blog. I try to respond to them unless they are spam or asking for a guest post for a topic obviously not suited for my blog.

Tamara Narayan said...

I am familiar with the void from the query process. If I don't hear back from a query, I don't bother. If I don't hear back from a partial or full request, that is something I do follow up on. Sometimes there is a website that lets you know the appropriate amount of time to wait before sending a inquiry. Otherwise, I think three months is acceptable for a partial, maybe six for a full.

Christine Rains said...

Oh yes, the void. I consider it rude when I don't hear something back. My skin is thick enough to handle the rejections, but never knowing? That's tough. On a lot of sites, they say when it is acceptable for you send an inquiry to ask about your submission. If they don't respond to that, I just carry on and submit elsewhere.

emaginette said...

This may sound silly, but I follow the rules. If they tell me I can ask about my query after a certain length of time I put the followup on my calendar. If they say they only respond to the work they want, then I take 'the void' as a rejection.

It's hard, but we are just a few in thousands that they have to deal with. I comfort myself by saying they are doing their best. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Rachna Chhabria said...

I too hate it when I don't hear back from editors. How long does it take an editor to write a courtesy reply? Even though its a pass.

Lee Lowery said...

I'm old-school and think the industry's consistent failure to respond is rude. But they seem to operate under the attitude that we need them more than they need us, so the reality is, too bad for us. And I don't buy the excuse that they're "so busy." We're all busy.

Ironcially, with the changes in publishing and decline of traditional publishing avenues (and revenues), it might just be too bad for them.

Jemi Fraser said...

The dreaded void - definitely the word alone sends chills down the spines of many writers!

Patsy said...

@ JH Moncreiff – Unless a different time period is specified three months seems reasonable to me. I do query, just in case the submission never arrived.

@ Michelle – you're way more patient than me!

@ Alex – annoying is right. An auto response would be a lot better than nothing.

@ Natalie – I don't mind the 'if you've not heard in X months it's a no' as then I know where I stand.

@ Tamara – but how do you know it ever arrived?

@ Christine – I'd much rather be told no than never hearing back.

@ Emganinette – that doesn't sound silly at all. The trouble is many places don't give any indication of how long it will take before they respond. We could asume they're not interested when really they've just been busy and not got around to reading it yet.

@ Rachna – not long per one, but some editors get hundreds of submissions a month. I wish that if they can't respond personally they'd set up an automatic system with a cut off period after which we can assume a no.

@ Lee – they are busy, but responding to our queries and nudges takes up time. It'd be much quicker to set up auto responses so we know our work arrived.

@ Jemi – it's not exactly a cheery word, is it?

cleemckenzie said...

The waiting game is the worst game on the planet. I'm not good at it, so I understand your angst very well.

Rosemary Johnson said...

Thanks for the link to the novel comp. I’m particularly interested in these at the moment.

Chrys Fey said...

I like the word "void." It sounds neat when you say it.

I know what you mean. I hate it when I don't hear anything, not even a no, about a submission. I do get that editors/agents/publishers get many emails a day and that replying back to all can be tough, but I feel that they should extend that courtesy.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Very excellent post. I really enjoyed reading this. Well-written with the definition of void and how it doesn't cover the feelings. And nice job working the contest in at the end.

Juneta key said...

I like the way you covered the word void. You made the word interesting as you talked about it. Made me think of all the ways it could apply too. Happy IWSG.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I submit very little. I've got to get on that. Years ago I did. ugh.

Thanks for visiting me!


Liz Hinds said...

I hate that void too. It prolongs hope. And it can't take much these days to put us out of our misery. It's not as if they have to write a letter and post it.