Thursday, April 06, 2006

On Submissions

Trying to get your work in front of an editor is nerve-wracking. Actually sending something out the door is enough to make you gnaw on your fingernails, pull out your hair and rend your clothes.

Okay, so it’s not THAT bad…really. See, the hard part is already done: YOU’VE WRITTEN THE BOOK. Now you just have to find someone who shares your vision, your taste and your view of things and who wants to publish your book.

Yesterday I sent off the first three chapters, a (sucky) synopsis and a query letter to an editor. I’ve corresponded with this editor prior to sending the items off, so it wasn’t that bad, but as soon as the envelope left my hands, the doubts started.

What if I didn’t find and fix all the passive voice? Oh hell! Did I remember to use one-inch margins all the way around? What if she reads the synopsis and laughs? What if she reads the first three chapters and uses them to start a fire in her office? What if…what if she really likes it and wants more?

Submitting your work to an editor or agent is like riding a roller coaster. There’s the shaky feeling you get in the pit of your stomach as you put everything in the envelope, check to make sure you’ve spelled the editor’s name and the name of the publishing house correctly, seal the envelope – oh no, did I remember to put in a SASE for a rejection note – maybe it won’t matter, maybe she won’t reject it! - etc.,

Then the ride starts – you check the USPS website every day to see when the package is delivered – and of COURSE you used the “delivery confirmation” slip, the one that doesn’t require a signature for delivery. You’re going up that first hill now…then, when you know the envelope has been delivered, your stomach drops out from underneath, just as it does when you start down the hill on that blasted roller coaster.

Now the nerves kick in – is she reading it? Does she like it? Is she laughing at the funny parts? Is she tearing up if there something sad in there? Is the sexual tension strong enough? Too strong? Does she like the style? Are the characters catching her attention? This is the up and down part of the ride – your heart is beating fast, your palms are sweaty, you feel as though you could just hurl…

The end of the ride can either be a smooth coast to a stop or a jolting halt…we’ll know more about that when we hear back from the editor in question with either a “loved it, want it” or a “thanks, but no thanks.”


Kim said...

I hear you.
I got a request for full from an agent.
Right now, its difficult NOT to think about it.
Is she reading it?
Does she like it?
Should I have written that scene that way?
Mind melting.

Cai said...

It is very nerve-wracking when you know the MS is in the editor/agent's hands - the "delivery confirmation" slip can be both a blessing & a curse, I think...