Beware all who enter! This writer is in submission mode.
What does that mean? In a nutshell, I have submitted my manuscript to a publisher and I’m now awaiting “The Call.”
Anyone who’s done this before knows the drill. You polish your manuscript until it shines or until your eyes bleed, whichever comes first. You research publishers or self-publishing options and make the choice that you feel best supports and represents your work. You read the submission guidelines on the publisher’s website (thank God we don’t have to send these things by snail mail any longer). As soon as you are ready, you hit “send.”
And then you wait. The wait can often take about twelve weeks, and that’s if the editor isn’t drowning under a massive slush pile.
I remind myself this often. “Don’t check your emails for the fourth time today. They haven’t sent one yet.”
And then I check my emails, you know, just in case my submission reached the editor at a prime moment and she decided she had to have me or die.
No email. (Of course. What did you think, dumbass? These people are busy. They have schedules.)
If I’m being particularly stoic, I might go a day without peeking at my emails. Did I mention I’m not stoic very often? I check my emails again. Nothing.
I remind myself I’m a multi-published author. This publisher would be thrilled to have me on board. I wrote a good book, dammit.
And then I remember the publisher might have already filled their quota of sexy contemporary romances for the month and they might be looking for a book featuring a unicorn heroine who falls in love with a magical tree stump. (By the way, I did not write that book. I don’t suggest you do either.)
I breathe. I check my social media pages and see announcements from friends who got publishing contracts. I shout “Huzzah! I’m so happy for you!” And I am.
I check my emails again. A big part of me dies inside. And this is all by the second day.
Do you see what I’m getting at? We writers are insecure creatures who need constant reassurance. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
I focus on other endeavors. I sign up for yoga. I hear it helps with mindfulness and the tendency to double-check emails. I take a seminar at my day job. I can’t forget I do work elsewhere and need to be mentally present there as well. I scrub the toilets because I neglected them while writing my goddamn book. I talk to my family members. I do everything I bloody well can to distract me from the notion my literary life hangs in the balance.
What happens if it comes back as a “no?” I move on. I find another publisher. If the previous one was kind enough to offer a critique, I take it to heart and see if I can fix the book. But wait! The book is perfect, right? Why change it just because some editor decided chapter four needs cutting. Well, because those editors are smart. They know stuff. I listen when they talk. They make me a better writer who doesn’t say things like, “They know stuff.”
And then the process begins again. It’s painful but nothing gets my adrenaline pumping more.
Am I a lunatic for putting myself through this? You betcha. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.