One of the drawbacks to being a prolific short story writer is that, in the drive to create and submit new work, it's easy to forget about previously submitted material.
This morning, for example, after looking through my file of submitted work in search of a particular story, I realized a few of my manuscripts had been away from home far too long.
So, I sent follow-ups to editors questioning the status of stories submitted in 2007 and 2008.
But I don't ever just ask, "Have you made a decision yet?" Should an editor fail to respond, where am I? I'm stuck sending yet another follow-up letter.
To avoid this, my follow-up letters include something similar to the following: "If I have not heard from you by [insert date], I will presume the story was unsuitable and will feel free to submit it elsewhere."
That way, if an editor fails to respond to my first follow-up letter, it also serves as my withdrawal letter.