Materials writing conversations #8: Ghosted!

This is a completely imaginary conversation. No characters in the convo are based on real people – I’m just bored and imagining conversations I might have with editors…

November 23rd

Dear Peter,

Thanks for confirming your availability for our project. We hope to get started early next year. Thanks also for the unpaid sample, which was great!

We are really keen to work with you. I’ll get back to you once we have more details about dates, deliverables, etc. Expect an email within the next week or two max.

Please do keep the next three or four months of your schedule free. In fact, better make that five months – we’ll probably decide on a big change during the project which requires more of your time. And just a heads up, we’ll probably find a way to say the change was part of your original deliverable (meaning you won’t get paid unless you do it).

Kind regards

Commissioning Editor, PhantomELT


November 24th

Dear Commissioning Editor,

Thanks for the response. All sounds great (and the ‘big change’ bit sounds standard tbh). Looking forward to working with you! Hope to hear more in the next couple of weeks.

Kind regards

Pete


January 4th

Dear Commissioning Editor,

Happy New Year! I’m just checking in about the project we discussed back in November. I know it’s been a holiday period. Just seeing if there have been any developments, etc.

Thanks for your time

Pete


February 10th

Dear Commissioning Editor,

I hope all is well. I’m just organising my schedule for the next few months. Are you any further forward with plans for the project we discussed? Would be great to find out some more info.

Thanks for you time.

Pete


February 24th

Dear Commissioning Editor,

I hope all is well.

I mean it. Are you okay? You haven’t been in contact for a while.

Any news on the project? Do you need anything more from me at this stage?

Kind regards

Pete


March 15th

Dear Commissioning Editor,

I hope you’re well.

I was just looking back at this email thread and I realised that I wrote ‘Thanks for you time’ instead of ‘Thanks for your time’ in one of the emails. I hope this lack of attention to detail didn’t reflect negatively on me. Rest assured, my work is (slightly) more accurate than this usually.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about the upcoming project.

Kind regards

Pete


March 28th

Hi Commissioning Editor,

I’m not sure if you received my last email. I’m forwarding the thread just in case you didn’t see it. Thanks for your time.

Pete


April 10th

Hey Commissioning Editor,

I think there may have been a miscommunication between us. On November 23rd last year, when you said ‘expect an email within a week or two max’, I just assumed you meant it. Apologies for this. It’s been around four months now – just wondered when you might send a courtesy email explaining that you’d already found your team of writers / the project got shelved / you decided to get the work done out of house / etc.

Regards

Pete


April 17th

Dear Commissioning Editor,

We’re getting closer to May 4th, which is International Star Wars Day. In preparation for the occasion, I’ve been re-watching the original trilogy. I was reminded of the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader orders Han Solo to be frozen in Carbonite. It dawned on me that maybe something like this could have happened to you. That being the case, you are unlikely to be able to respond to this email, or even read it. It would have been nice if you’d managed to set an out-of-office autoreply before the incident, but I understand that may have been difficult to plan (and perhaps not a priority).

I’ll hold fire on further emails. It would be great if you could respond once you are freed, and of course once you’ve recovered from the hibernation sickness and temporary blindness that also afflicted Han Solo.

Kind regards

Pete

Copyright John Bambrook

May 4th

Dear Commissioning Editor

I know, I said I wouldn’t message. And I know you can’t read this. I just wanted to let you know that, given the day, I’m thinking of you.

Pete


May 5th

Dear Peter

Thanks for your email. Apologies for the late response.

Yes, you are right. After a poor quarter at the end of last year, our manager here at PhantomELT did order a majority of staff to be temporarily frozen in Carbonite. After three months, then hibernation sickness, I was finally able to return to work and get cracking on the project.

I’ve been contacting freelancers about the project since around late March. You are also right in that there was a miscommunication between us. When I said I would get back to you within a couple of weeks, what I meant to say was that I’ll contact you if no one better shows an interest in the project.

Some more competent freelance writers came a-knocking, so we basically put your CV and the sample (by the way, it was very good) on the backburner. We shared far more information with those other writers and got through to the contract stage with most of them. It turns out that each one (10 in total) felt that the remuneration wasn’t that great, and they turned us down.

All this means that after 5 months we are finally ready to share the details of the project with you. Please don’t feel that you are ‘Number 11 in line’ for this though. That’s certainly not the case. In actual fact, we had completely forgotten about you.

Let us know if you’ve time to discuss the project further. We probably won’t respond if someone better turns up, but we’ve pretty much gone through all our preferences so you’ve more chance of getting involved now.

Kind regards

Commissioning Editor, PhantomELT


May 6th

Dear Commissioning Editor

Thanks for the response.

I won’t lie. I feel a little put out by five months of ghosting.

That said, I have a free schedule for the next few months – I think. I was due to start another project, but the Commissioning Editor for that one ended up falling into the Great Pit of Carkoon last week, and into a Sarlacc’s mouth. Sarlaccs take around 1000 years to digest their food, so the Comm Ed might still live long enough to get a contract in place. Even so, I’d say I’m probably available for work.

Please send further details of the project if possible. After 4-5 months of keeping my schedule free for you and therefore having no income, I’m not really in a position to negotiate the remuneration. Happy to be paid a pittance.

Kind regards

Pete

Copyright cbr.com

May 22nd

Dear Commissioning Editor,

I’m just checking in about the project we discussed a couple of weeks ago. Just seeing if there have been any developments, etc.

Thanks for your time

Pete



Categories: General, materials writing

Tags: , , , ,

1 reply

  1. A very humorous way of exploring how publishers and editors may operate. Despite not being involved in publishing materials, I feel the pain that writers may encounter.

    Liked by 1 person

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