Thank yous (and giftage)

I recently entered a writing contest (a well-known one) and didn't make the short-list. No biggie, I learned a lot and made some good progress with my writing. Then I got a very encouraging letter from one of the contest judges (the chair), letting me know that I'd made the informal "long-list" of the top 20 entries and giving me some feedback on my submission. She didn't have to do this (the contest stated that feedback would only be given to short-listed folks), and made it clear she did it on her own behalf. This was very cool and much appreciated. My question is this...would it be okay to send her a short thank-you note care of her publisher? Just a "thanks for taking the time to do this, much appreciated" kinda deal? I'm not looking to come off as some psycho-stalker chick, so should I be grateful in silence, or is a brief note okay?

A short thank you note via the publisher is always in order.
You'd do better to email her from her website; publishers are notoriously slow about forwarding author mail.
You only come off as psycho-stalker chick if you send gifts, or more than one note.
Never send any object to an agent or an editor until you've signed a deal with them. Given the lunacy of this day and age, gifts from strangers mostly get thrown away still wrapped and unused.


Dave Fragments said...

I've had a few short stories come back with more than the standard rejections (a. not for us, b. can't use it, c. wrong genre, etc...). One even had several paragraphs of why the editor didn't accept the story.

In these cases, I always send a thank you note saying thanks and I appreciate the comments.

Aprilynne Pike said...

I think a thank-you note would most definitely be in order. (Just don't tack something on the end like, "And the completed MS is ready if you want to look at it again." Just a plain simple thank-you.)

Good Form.:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a million. Funny what little things a girl can get all twisty/obsessive over, but there seems to be a whole 'nother kind of etiquette in this wacky biz.

Stacia said...

I judged a contest recently where comments were given, and I got a thank you forwarded through the contest coordinators (it was anonymous judging).

It made my day to think someone found my comments so helpful they went to the trouble of forwarding their thanks to me.

Anonymous said...

I've wondered about this, with longer/instructive rejection letters from editors. My inclination is to send a short 'thanks for the feedback', but I generally haven't for fear of stepping on toes or sounding grasping.

Thanks again for enlightening me, your Snarkliness!

Dan Leo said...

I made the short list of a certain very big (as in $$$) fiction fellowship with a submission of part of a novel-in-progress, and one of the judges, a well-respected novelist, told a mutual acquaintance to have me give him a call. So I did, he was really nice, said he thought I should've won the big wazoo, and that when I finished the novel he'd give me a recommendation to his agent (who doesn't even accept unsolicited queries). Well, I finished the book, this very kindly novelist made the recommendation, and guess what? The agent didn't like the book.

As the wise Miss Snark says: keep querying, keep writing.