Thor's Thoughts: Submission
Before I begin my entry this week, I would like to thank all of you who have gone to see my new movie in theaters these last weeks. Your support is worth worlds to me.
Today I would like to broach the topic of Submission. When I say submission, I mean all varieties: the query to an agent, the proposal to an editor, the pitch to someone at a conference. All of these are their own subject, and I could likely write pages on each. I will not do this, however. I would like to focus my thoughts today on what they have in common.
(Keep in mind, I am not an industry professional. These are simply my own observations and personal thoughts.)
1. The most important thing to remember when you begin the submission process, is that rejection is simply part of the game. Personally, I do not think of it as "rejection" but rather "a pass." Rejection" is such a rough-sounding word, and very hard to take. If you pay attention to your "rejection letters" you'll notice that agents and editors rarely use the word "rejection." The kind of person you want to work with will likely not be so heartless. Rather, they will say something like, "this isn't for me" or "I'm going to have to pass" or "I don't think I can sell/market this" or any combination of those plus more. A good agent or editor will not be seeking to rip you to shreds via a pass-letter. They simply want to say in the kindest way possible, "Not this time, keep writing."
2. The next most important thing to know about submission is that every word counts. Whether you are writing a query, a synopsis, a pitch, or a proposal EVERY WORD COUNTS. I know you have read and re-read your query fifty times. If it does not feel right (or if your agent or editor does not think it is working) read it again. Rewrite it again. tweak it again. This is what it means to be a writer. You must always make each word mean something in everything you do -- especially these short summaries.
3. Another important part of submission is the wait. These things take time. You cannot afford to sit around while you wait to hear back from agents or editors. It could take months, even years. Do yourself a favor: write a new book. And polish it. And submit it. Then write another one. If you receive feedback that rings true, make revisions. There are wonderful resource posts about this on The Daily Dahlia: Perpetual WIPs.
4. Lastly, remember that every step you take is one step closer to publication. Every book has its own path, as does every author. Success in this business never (or very rarely) happens the same way twice. Say your best friend/critique partner finds their agent, or has an editor offer, or their self-published paperbacks come in. And you are genuinely torn between ecstatic joy for them and insane jealousy for you.
This. Is. Normal.
Just be happy for them, be excited. Then, when you are alone or with someone else, or maybe even that very friend if you know they will understand, you can vent a little. But when you are done, pick yourself up and move on. The only way you fail is if you stop trying.
So keep writing, keep submitting. There will always be readers, and books will continue to be published for years to come.