26 June 2007

REPOST 6/17/2006 The ups and downs...

I've never been the type to sit at the mail box and wait for answers to submissions. Either the work is accepted, or it's rejected. Either way, the editor made a decision based on personal tastes and what the line needs. It's not personal to me or my talent.

Does that make me cocky? No. It makes me realistic, I think. My work might need cleaning, but my local group, readers and reviewers say it doesn't suck, so I'm willing to trust that's true. So, why worry on that point?

Why worry on any point, since...as I noted...whether or not you're rejected isn't personal to you. Send the baby out there, allow yourself a day or three of nail biting, then let the call or e-mail come when it comes. If the editor or agent is 50 percent over the estimated time for an answer, inquire nicely. Then sit back and let it come when it comes.

Okay, why am I bothering to state this? It seems every time I settle the nerves and move onto something else, some well-meaning friend asks me how the submissions I have out are going and gets the nerves keyed up again. Now, I don't blame them. They are interested. Some are excited for me. It's touching that they think to ask. I wouldn't trade that concern for the world.

But, it makes me wonder... How many authors really do wait at the mail box or phone for the answer? It must be a high number, because everyone seems shocked that I don't.

Am I jaded? I don't think so. I'm fairly calm about putting something tried out there, series that are already well-received, so much so that when Stefani Kelsey (my former EIC) saw my attack of nerves with a NEW concept I placed out for sale, her comment was, "Oh, my God! You ARE human."

I think I just choose what to worry about. Some things will happen when they happen. There's no stopping them. They have a limited number of possible outcomes. And, none of those outcomes are lethal to you or your career.

I told someone once that the trick to staying calm about submissions are to keep the following in mind:

It's unlikely your submission will be the worst the editor/agent has ever seen. It's unlikely it will even be close.

The editor/agent is not likely to be passing it around to friends to read the horrible submission. They're all too busy with work to play that game.

Unless you act really unprofessionally, it's unlikely they are going to remember your name next month. Why do you think you have to remind editors and agents where you met, that they requested the manuscript, or that they requested something else when you had it? Because they meet a ton of people, in one form or another, on a daily basis. You're one name in a sea of thousands.

Never expect an editor or agent to KEEP the card you handed him/her. It's a courtesy to hand it over to them, and it tells them something elemental about you, but it's likely going to be trashed/recycled later that day. It's not personal, but do you have any concept how big the Rolodex would have to be to keep every card these people get? Mine is a 2" binder, and I'm an author. Few people hand me their cards, comparitively.

So, it's unlikely you're the worst they've seen, and they won't remember you next month, if you're rejected, which leaves you open to submit to them again. From that point of view, what is there to be worried about? One submission the editor/agent doesn't like isn't going to kill your career.

Look! When it happens, it happens. When I went into labor with my first child, I called my husband at work, and he woke a coworker to take over for him until turnover. When the coworker asked how Rob could be so calm when I was having a baby, he replied, "After eight or nine months, it had to happen. What's the surprise in that?" It's all a waiting game. Nothing more.

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