Why don't authors write back to your queries? Why don't they write back to your email asking if your queries arrived? Are they too busy to care if publication is delayed? What's the deal?
I just went through a bit of author query anxiety, in that my due date of an article, with queries addressed, was rapidly approaching. It was the first of four I had edited and the first of four I had sent a query letter for. I requested responses in 5 days, and when 6 days passed I sent a follow-up. Still no response. Oh, no! What if he is out of town? What if he just doesn't care that [insert what I would call important issues to the article]? What author wouldn't care? In the meantime, I completed all 3 of the other articles (editing, querying, cleaning up) I had started after this one.
I only say he may not care because in my previous position, the fast-paced world of grant proposal editing, many times authors really don't care about consistency, because they don't have time to. They only care about a product getting out the door by a specific time by whatever means necessary. I can understand the utter exhaustion that proposal writers feel at the end of the project, when it's in an editor's hands. It has already been through so much in the review process that there can't be anything else wrong, right? Well, that's a question for another day.
So, anyway, I finally realized that I could find this author's phone number, so I called him. I remember a certain blog post by Katharine O'Moore Klopf (editormom, see my blog links) about being telephonophobic. I am certainly that, to a degree. But it's a good thing I broke down and picked up the phone, because he never received my emails! My Gmail address was I guess blocked from his server as an unknown entity. And, he did care! I sent the queries to his personal email address, and he answered them within 24 hours.
I didn't have too much to worry about, in that the article isn't slated for publication until several months from now, but after my long wait I got the article in on its projected editorial schedule! This is very satisfying to me. Ah.
So, I have reaffirmed for myself that the authors for this new gig of mine care a lot more about their articles than people trying to kick a 300-page proposal out the door (so they can get to writing the next one).