What do I do if a contributor isn’t responding to my emails?
Welcome back to you, dear Page by Page subscriber! It’s a pleasure to be back from my summer holidays—there will be lots of exciting PBP news in the coming weeks and months, so I’m delighted you’re here to share it all!
And welcome back to AMA Q&A, where subscribers can have their most pressing questions answered. In this issue of AMA, I address a complication that can arise whenever you’re working with other people: what do you do when they stop replying to emails, but you need to keep a project moving?
I’m editing a special issue of a journal, and I haven’t heard from one of my contributors since sending her the reader’s report on her article (along with details regarding the next deadline, etc.). I’ve already sent a follow-up email asking for an update, with no response. What do I do now??
First of all, commiserations: as someone who’s edited three books and two special journal issues, I have totally been where you are right now. I hope it’s some comfort knowing that you’re not alone: it’s not uncommon to have a contributor go silent for a bit. After all, life happens, right?
But when you’ve sent a patient and polite follow-up with no response, it’s hard to know what to do next. You don’t want to make your contributor feel harassed, especially if they’re going through a difficult time and you don’t know about it. But on the other hand, you also don’t want to keep your publisher, your journal editor, or your other, more communicative contributors waiting!
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Whenever I’m in a situation like this, I try to communicate with contributors in a way that keeps everything moving and my stress levels (relatively) low. Most of the time, this means that I have to set a deadline by which my contributor must reply if they wish to continue to participate in my project. In these cases, I send an email like the following:
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