another question from your favorite inept aspiring writer!
April 18, 2021 9:03 AM   Subscribe

I received an Honorable Mention in a writing competition last fall and the pub is going to publish said piece in their Spring 2021 edition. I signed a contract in November 2020 giving them permission to publish and they said they'd be in touch in March to finalize everything and give me a chance to update my bio if necessary. I have not heard from them since, and am not sure if reaching out is pushy or or not.

Guys, I'm sorry I ask so many questions like this. I am so new to getting work published and I don't want to be written off by any publication as "THAT annoying writer" (so I just do it here).

I know a lot of publications have been falling behind on scheduling due to COVID, so that's why I want to make sure I'm not being pushy here about when my piece is being published. I don't know if that would be considered proactive (I would be very polite, obviously) or extremely tone-deaf.

The only reason why I am a bit anxious about this is that I am in the middle of finishing a book proposal and having this piece in particular published and out in the world will help strengthen my proposal.

Thanks in advance.
posted by nayantara to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you haven't heard from them since November, and they were supposed to be in touch with you last month, reaching out now is perfectly acceptable and not pushy.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:08 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]

You can always use inexperience as an excuse if they think you’re pushy. But also, you have a contract that whose terms they may not be meeting, so it’s ok to be pushy.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:41 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]

It's true that many publications are behind, and it's also true that reaching out and asking for the status on your piece is perfectly acceptable. You will not be penalized for it (obviously, as long as your inquiry is brief and polite), full stop.

BTW you can mention the piece in your query letters to agents or publishers, noting that it is "forthcoming".
posted by Flock of Cynthiabirds at 10:10 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]

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