In a New York Times article about how emails are getting shorter, Teddy Wayne quotes John Freeman (author of "The Tyranny of E-Mail"). Freeman says that even people who don't work in film "know what the 'L.A. no' is: that silence is a reply."
In other words, no reply is the new "no."
That's been the case for a while with publishers and agents. Their websites usually say if you don't hear back, assume they're not interested. The more considerate ones give you a time frame: if you haven't heard back from us within six weeks," for instance.
I suppose in some ways this is no worse than getting the stock rejections they used to send out: "Thank you for thinking of us but your material doesn't meet our present needs. We wish you success placing it elsewhere." It feels worse, though. No matter how insincere that wish that may have been, there was something very civilized about it.
It's one of the many niceties that have been sacrificed in the interests of speed and convenience and cost-cutting. It goes along with another thing Freeman points out: "People are becoming more reactive, and within that context, the concentration required to write a longer, thoughtful email isn't around."
Wayne writes, "Now, hunger to hear from others can often be sated by bite- and byte-size portions of a thousand different petit fours from acquaintances' status updates, rather than an email's intimate candlelit dinner for two."
Not that long ago (although eons in internet time), people were lamenting that emails had replaced the thoughtful, sometimes handwritten, letters we used to receive.
Now the nostalgia is for long emails.
I hear that emails in general are in decline, replaced more and more by texts.
It's only a matter of time before all messages will just be emojis, to which my response is :(
If I don't hear from you, I'll assume you agree. I call that The London Yes.