July 5, 2010

Endurance

          As some of you know, I have been going through the submission process in an attempt to get my second book published through traditional channels. And I had an agent ask to review my proposal in response to a query. She said she was "intrigued" by my project. I did a little happy dance, reviewed the document one more time, then pressed "Send." And an entirely new kind of waiting commenced.
          It has been agony. Even worse than waiting for a response to a query. Her website states that her normal response time for partials and fulls is 6-8 weeks. This past weekend marked seven weeks. So for better or for worse, I have been anticipating a response any day now. 
          Then I came across this post from Janet Reid, literary agent extraordinaire. In it she asserted that writers need to make sure they follow up after sending requested materials (I was planning to do so if the normal wait period passed without word). And, she said, there is a good chance the agent in question never even received my materials. Wait, WHAT?! 
          You mean after all this time, I might have to START OVER AGAIN? All this nail biting has possibly been for naught? If the agent never did receive my proposal, is she still interested? And do I have to wait another 6-8 weeks for a response if I resend? Keep in mind, after all of this, the agent may very well say she is not interested. In which case I will be back to the proverbial Square One.
          I've gotta tell you, this submission process is insane. And unbelievably frustrating. People may wonder why writers often seem to be wary of the publishing industry. Look at all the anguish we experience. Here's the deal. We work hard to perfect our craft. We follow all the rules. We jump through all the hoops. And we get squashed at every turn.
          But I'll tell you one thing. If anyone is suited for this insanity, it's writers. You will never find anyone more dedicated, driven, passionate, persistent or resilient. Writers rock! And we're in it for the long haul. We can take it!
          What adjectives would you use to describe writers? And do you have any submission stories to share?

25 comments:

  1. I first joined the submission game about six years ago, with a previous book, before my first child was born. At that time, my understanding of the 'rules' was that you were only supposed to query one agent at a tie, and a normal response rate was 6-8 weeks. That means it takes a year to get 6 rejections and six rejections is NOT NEARLY ENOUGH! I found the whole thing very frustrating and then there were babies and I lost my wind.
    As the second child came into toddlerhood in 2009 I started up writing again and was delighted to find that the rules have changed and querying several agents at once is considered fine these days, as long as you let the others know if/when you get an offer of representation. This means now we can get hundreds of rejections in a year and thus speed up the process of finally finding the agent and the publishing house that love our work.
    Writers are tenacious, thick-skinned, optimistic, a little insane. We DO rock!

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  2. Oh, my gosh, I have my share of lost manuscript stories. UGH. Better not to talk about it or I'll get upset all over again. LOL
    Good luck with your submissions!

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  3. I am not at the query stage yet but I know that I am going to go nuts. I know the short stories and that I have submitted years ago just about gave me ulcers lol (well kind of lol).

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  4. I've taken a break from querying my finished ms but there's still a full out there. Not ready to query the new one. Hiatus?

    My last partial was out for 6 months - sent two follow up emails, both ignored, before it was rejected. Partial, out 4 months. Current full has been out for 4 months, and I'm starting to think about follow up emails. Agents are busy people. Swamped.

    I will continue to query - just need to finish this ms and time has been premium. I find it helps a lot to be writing.

    I think the sooner we understand that the entire publishing industry *is* beautiful, the better off we will be. Writing is work. There are no rainbows and roses. You have to write because you *have* to. Or it isn't worth it.

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  5. Whatever happens, that is the best picture ever!

    I wonder how many wonderful works we'll never read because the potential author gave up?

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  6. I meant to say publishing is a brutal business. Can't think why my fingers put beautiful. Still wishful thinking I guess.

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  7. @ Claire - Oh my goodness! THAT is endurance! And I like your adjectives. ;)

    @ Jennifer - Didn't mean to bring up any bad memories. LOL

    @ Erica - Don't let this dissuade you. You stick with you and get your work out there!

    @ Kerry - I agree with everything you said. And actually, I think publishing is both brutal AND beautiful! ;)

    @ muffintopmommy - One of my favorite pics of DD ever! And that's an interesting question. This writer is not going to give up, I can assure you of that!

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  8. Oh, I wish you good luck with your ms. Waiting is tough, isn't it?

    My adjective for writers (or maybe it's just me) is "obsessive."

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  9. Oh darling, I SO feel your pain. We are insane. Neurotic, Obsessive and Compulsive. I would say most are mildly manic depressive and we all have a bad case of the nerves and are obsessive e-mail checkers. Insanity abounds, but keep your head up. We writers also like a good beating.

    Love you!

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  10. I so get this. I have two partials with agents who have had the pages for four weeks now. I just got a revision letter from an editor who had my book for two months. It's a waiting game. That's the best that can be said. Now I'm revising and the reality is, I could make all the changes and then the editor still may not buy the book.

    I don't know who said this quote, but it applies: "I don't know if I'm neurotic because I am a writer of if I am a writer because I am neurotic." I think it's the former.

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  11. @ Julie - But in a good way, right? ;)

    @ Crazy- I knew you would understand. Speak for yourself on the beating part, however. LOL

    @ Jeannie - Here's to both of us receiving some good news soon!

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  12. LOL! That is one of the greatest pictures of all time.

    Love it.

    And as a screenwriting major, I understand the hell that is the submission process. Best of luck!

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  13. How frustrating! Hopefully you hear something soon.

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  14. Submitting is agony. The waiting is torture, then there's the wondering if they got it, then ultimately there's the response... Writers are the toughest people I know. They have to be!

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  15. @ CaneWife - It is absolutely one of my favorites. My friend calls it the "Oh no you didn't" picture! LOL

    @ Jill - "They" say no news is good news, but in this case I don't think so. I'd rather know something than nothing. That's just how I am.

    @ Heather - I know you know! ;)

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  16. Right on, sister! We must soldier on!

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  17. First, that picture is absolutely adorably hilarious.

    Second, yeah, I had the same reaction when I read that post. Like, wait, what?? I would've done exactly what you did, since so very many agents are so clear on when and how often to contact them. Eye opening, really. Good luck! (And congrats on the request! :) )

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  18. @ Muffintopmommy & Elizabeth - Thanks!

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  19. I felt brave posting on TRDC, I cannot tell you how brave you are to put yourself out there and publish a book...and do it again. I have a friend going through this process while trying to sell her house. She became so stressed she put her book on hold. I hope you get some great feedback soon!

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  20. I'm just starting to get my feet wet with the whole submitting thing and it's scary and confusing. In some ways I like to hear other writer's stories like this. It lets me know I'm not just completely clueless, it really is confusing. They should write down the rules somewhere easily accessible. Good luck! Hope you hear back soon.

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  21. That picture was PERFECT. Oh, I can't imagine the frustration. At least now you know to follow up. I wonder if they answer the follow up emails?

    Ah! Mind blowing indeed! Hang in there!

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  22. In this day people still aren't getting things? To me that sounds like an excuse to be lazy. RDC

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  23. I love what Kerry said. You write b/c you HAVE to.

    There is no other way....

    I think the word for writers would be "convinced."

    We must be convinced that we have something to say that hasn't been said before. We have to be solidly convinced of this to keep on going on...

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  24. @ Kathryn, Jessica Anne, Angelia & Lindsey - I actually have followed up with the agent in question at this point. She did receive my proposal and told me she is "on the fence." So this week I am sending out another round of queries. Thank you for your encouragement.

    @ The Empress - I am convinced! ;)

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  25. Aaagh. What a process. I always appreciate when writers share their stories. Thank you!

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