April 6, 2013

Extraordinary... Like Everyone Else

With a title selected (though it may always be changed & I am choosing to keep it off this blog in the interest of being discreet in case of some quirk of the publishing industry's preferences of which I'm unaware), my novel has now been sent off for my first round of submissions. Now, the waiting game begins.

Technically, the point when a lack of response becomes indicative of anything at all is once three months have passed; then and only then, no response translates into a rejection. Meanwhile, all it means is that your submission is waiting to be read (most likely), or being read, or being considered (wouldn't that be nice?). Then again, it might already be in the rejects pile.

In reality, as soon as a submission is sent, an unavoidable urge to stalk the inbox arises—and I feel confident saying I'm not the only one who feels this way. Each of us wants to believe that our query, our precious book, is the one that will be the exception—the one that will make the agent/editor jump out of their seats and contact us ASAP, not three months later.  

Forget the fact that we know an agent/editor likely hasn't even seen the submission because it's only been a few days or weeks (in my case, less than 48 hours, to be exact); we desperately want our project to be that exception that is for some reason read right away, loved right away, and desired right away.   

Can you imagine if all queries were still (and many actually are) submitted through snail mail? My query likely wouldn't have even arrived yet, and yet I am anxious to know one way or the other about these editors' reactions.  Being patient isn't generally speaking a problem for me, but now, I just want to know. Even if the response is a rejection, I want to know, so that I can continue on with my planned next round of queries—and if the response is an offer, I want to know for obvious reasons, but also so that I do not spend an inordinate amount of time on research for more people to query when that research will be moot, as, in that case, by the time I query again, editors' and agents' submission guidelines and policies may have changed drastically.

Meanwhile, I continue to read many blog posts and articles about writing, revising, submitting, contracts, agents, etc. Currently, I am reading the back logs of agent Kristin Nelson's extremely helpful blog. There or somewhere else (I've read at least 5 months' worth of her posts in the last 24 hours, but I've also read pieces elsewhere; with my imperfect memory it's difficult to keep track of who said what), I found out that the average novel an author sells is actually their 4th, and practically never their 1st

Once again, I find myself certain—in that false bravado kind of way—that my novel is the exception, I hope. I also find myself mentally constructing the argument that this isn't technically my first novel. It just happens to be my first novel written and revised all the way through to the point that it could be published. That makes a difference, right? 

Because it's easy to go around in circles within my own mind ad nauseum, wondering about the state of my submission, I will attempt to stick to my plan for distracting myself, which is to resume work on my poetry collection. A couple options for cover art with which I've been playing are available here. Opinions welcome!

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