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Monday, September 28, 2015

Submission Process Part 1: Dante and the waiting game

Previously, I talked about the process of finding an agent (it was long and I made many mistakes). I also wanted to share my experience taking a manuscript to publishers.  I know this will be more valuable for the writers out there, but this process has taught me many lessons about patience and accepting the unexpected.  It's also shaped new ideas about how to measure success.  Perhaps, those will be useful to you. For this post, then, I'll give more of a brief background and move into the lessons next time around. 

When I was querying, it seemed as if  finding an agent was the holy grail.  If I could just land an agent, my path to publication would look like this:

Straight, narrow, and with the perfect final destination. 

Ah, if only.  It probably looks a little more like this:

Rocky, difficult, and with unknown destination.

My agent and I worked for a couple of months to get the manuscript in tip top shape before she sent it off to editors. It was finally official.  I was "on submission," and I was equal parts excited and nervous.  

On the absolutewrite forums, they refer to being on submission as the next circle of hell, and while I wouldn't say it's quite that bad, it's definitely true that being becoming agented is a step toward publication.  Much like writing itself or querying, for some folks, a sale is practically instant.  Others may have to move on to another project. Obviously, an agent won't take you on if they don't think they will be successful, but they can't predict everything either. 

I admit I was relieved to be on submission probably more than anything.  After such a long query process where I had to actively monitor everything, I could just sit back and wait.  And I had to wait a long time. It took us about six months before we got any feedback.  My agent had prepared me for potentially slow responses, but that certainly put a damper on my dreams.  Still, life was busy, and I managed to forget to worry about it for months at a time.  Then my agent and I would touch bases with new rejections (all maddeningly positive, as Jen said).  After a year, though, I pretty much assumed it was time to let it go.  I started talking to Jen about which manuscript to prepare next.  

Like that proverbial watched pot that doesn't boil, the minute I started thinking more about other projects, I got the amazing news about an offer.  

As joyful as it was to get the news, I think all the waiting and the fear made it difficult to fully embrace and accept that it's real.  

Plus, the waiting isn't over.

Stay tuned for Submission Process Part Two: Serious business (and more waiting).  I'll post that next week as part of the Insecure Writer's Group for the first Wednesday of the month. 

In the meantime, does waiting build your anticipation? Are you able to avoid negative thoughts when waiting for news?


  1. Perfect title, and this is exactly how I felt about that process. And congratulations again!!! (The only way to pass the time for me is to write more - except the last year or so that I spent carrying and then having a baby - that was distracting too LOL. :)

  2. Need summore thots, ideers, wirdz or ironclad iconoclasms? Look no firdr...

    VERBUM SAT SAPIENTI: As an ex-writer of the sassy, savvy, schizophenia we all go through in this lifelong demise, I just wanna help U.S. git past the whorizontal more!ass! we're in (Latin: words to [the] wise)...

    "This finite existence is only a test, son," God Almighty told me in my coma. "Far beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find corpulent eloquence" (paraphrased). Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

    I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET any moe curly, party-hardy-endorphins, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs when my beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girl passed-away due to those wry, sardonic satires.

    "Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3

    Here's also what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

    Go git'm, girl. You're incredible. See you Upstairs. I won't be joining'm in the nasty Abyss where Isis prowls
    PS Need gobba summore unique names, too? Lemme gonna gitcha started, brudda:

    Oak Woods, Franky Sparks, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, Roman Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Penelope Summers, Sophie Sharp, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zacharia Neptoon, Mercurio Morrissey, Fritz & Felix Franz, Victor Payne, Isabella Silverstein, Mercedes Kennedy, Redding Rust, Martini Phoenix, Ivy Squire, Sauer Wolf, Yankee Cooky, b9...

    God blessa youse
    -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL