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?