“Hurry up and wait” seems to be the publishing industry’s tagline, or so I’m told. Hurry up, wait, and disintegrate while doing both seems to be more like it. Gone are the carefree, hopeful days of being unagented and unpublished. While this might sound ungrateful, trust me when I tell you to revel in it if you can. That is the stage when you believe that all that’s standing in the way of being published is the middle person to help you make the connection. Get an agent, make the connections, get published. Right?
Being on submission is a very special kind of hell. Perhaps worse than giving birth (although better than the sleep deprived nights that follow!). It’s special because on one side you can’t vent because IT’S A SECRET and on the other side you can’t vent because ATLEAST YOU HAVE AN AGENT. Meanwhile, you’re slowly wasting away knowing that the final judgement is upon you. Editors are essentially the final gatekeepers for your words. If they don’t like them, then are you even a writer?! Worse, they don’t even respond. Every rejection is one less imprint you can submit to, and although your rational mind knows that there are dozens of imprints out there, it still feels like the walls are closing in. Especially hard if you’re claustrophobic. Which is a metaphor for having anxiety. Even if you didn’t have anxiety before, this is possibly when you will develop it (if you can get through the process without any anxiety- congratulations, you are a mutant).
If you’re lucky, you’ll only suffer a month or two. If you have bad karma, then this will be prolonged into more than 6 months. To make things interesting, this is also when you will be plied with advice to just write another book. Which is well and good if you are able to compartmentalize. But if you’re like me, you will lose your will to ever write again. Every rejection will reaffirm this for you. Obviously.
And then, you get a nice rejection. Something about loving your story but it not being the right fit. Or loving you as a writer, just not this particular story. These will help buffer the polite but definitely “I didn’t like this” rejections and keep you hanging by a fine thread.
And then you get a…..
Wait. I can’t tell you yet. IT’S A SECRET 😀