Now that my children are firmly back in school, I re-evaluate my goals of publication. I’ve been writing women’s fiction pretty seriously and attending writers’ conferences for about four years now. Having completed three single title novels, I hope to one day (soon) publish through traditional channels. But it’s a daunting business.
It’s a dream. It’s hard work and a real emotional roller coaster once you really begin submitting material to literary agents and editors for almost certain rejection. It’s like someone telling you your baby is ugly. Because what you write comes only from inside yourself. There’s no one else to point a finger toward or lay blame. Nope, it’s your ugly baby they’re talking about. It’s either not what the gatekeepers in publishing are looking for, not a high enough concept, or someone didn’t quite connect with your characters. Whatever the reasons for the rejection, it hurts every time.
Curling up in a pity ball is one way of dealing with this, but it doesn’t accomplish much. Doesn’t improve the story or strengthen the plot and flesh out character dimension. So suiting up and revising makes far more sense. Finding trusted readers who will give honest feedback is very important as well.
I liken the submitting and rejection cycle to the P. D. Eastman book, Go, Dog, Go.
“I do not like your book.”
Then the dogs part ways, usually on friendly terms, continuing this pattern again and again with the same result.
Until finally, when the submitting dog has pimped her hat (book) until it’s the fanciest, most impressive party hat ever, the boy dog (agent/editor) suddenly takes notice and says, “Yes! I like that hat. I like that party hat!” And they leave the party together, arm in arm.
Those of you who have or are going through the process of submitting your work will understand and appreciate my analogy. Unless you’ve never read GO, DOG, GO! If you haven’t read this classic, bless your heart.
And best to all my agent friends who must slog through the thousands of submissions they receive on a daily basis. It must boggle the mind.
Have a wonderful weekend!