I've been knocked down by this year's version of the winter plague. (Now with extra croup for your coughing pleasure! It's not just for kiddies any more!) Which means that my daily agenda consists of mindless paperwork, goofing off, and blowing my nose. In that order.
So today, as part of the goofing off portion of my agenda, I got to chatting with an editor friend of mine. We were talking a little about submissions pet peeves, and something came up which I'd like to run past all of you.
She mentioned that she's had a recent rash of people who never respond to her requests for manuscripts. This does happen from time to time, and I usually assume it's because the author died, developed amnesia (with a secret baby complication, of course), or has been taken hostage by an obsessed drug kingpin/jihadist/domestic terrorist and is awaiting rescue by the Navy SEAL of her heart's desire. (He will, naturally, carry her laptop through the jungle/desert/subway so that she can promptly submit her manuscript the instant he rescues her. That's part of the external motivation. ;)
Or maybe it's because she sold the manuscript elsewhere, in which case a polite response to the editor's request might be a good thing, depending on circumstances.
Or maybe it's because she has run into one of those life complications that can temporarily move writing onto the back burner. We all have those. We understand. People get sick and pregnant and have to move to entirely new continents. It happens. But in that case, too, a short notice to the editor might be a good idea.
But I don't know. You tell me. Why would an author, after working so hard on a manuscript, ignore a request from an editor they've chosen? When would you choose to notify the editor of delays, and when would you simply let it go?
ETA: Given the number of PMs I've gotten over this post, let me say -- and I cross-my-heart promise this is the truth -- I'm not talking about any of my authors. I'm not talking about something that was submitted to me. It was something that came up in conversation with another editor. That's all. /worry, k?