Monday, May 09, 2011

Romance Novel Submission, or Waiting for Success

I try to be positive.  Generally speaking (and my family and friends will vouch for this), I am an optimist.  I typically believe that everything will work out, at some point, in some way.  The situation may not turn out exactly the way I wanted but I tend to believe that it was for the best anyway.

The same attitude applies to adversity.  I forge through, I employ all of my experience/ skills/ knowledge, and usually everything is roses.  Or crabgrass.  But the point is, I get through it.

Why, then, do I find it so unbearable to wait for the response to my romance novel submission?

Well, for one thing, it's been more than six months since my first chapter was rejected in the Mills & Boon New Voices competition.  I felt really badly about my writing for a really long time.

But the New Voices contest was not my first tango.

Years ago, I wrote a series of terrible historical romances which I deemed too terrible to see the light of day.

Then, more recently, I spent a good chunk of the past decade writing nearly a dozen contemporary romances.  I sent many of these out to Harlequin and was rejected, again and again, in increasingly terse letters.

I am a many time loser.  So why do I keep trying?  Why am I still so optimistic about the chance that I will one day become...dat dat duuuuuh...a published romance novelist?  There are a few reasons.

Keep learning

Every time I sit down to produce a romance manuscript (not an easy process, despite my numerous completed mss), I'm more knowledgeable about my writing and the romance genre.  I've read more articles on the subject.  I have used the internet to learn about romance novel writing and my subscription to writing magazines to think about the craft in general.

Be prepared

I have put more energy into crafting the plot, characters and structure of my novel before I even sit down in front of the computer.  Because this isn't my first manuscript, I've thought through the old tropes and come up with ways to make the storyline more interesting and captivating (I hope) for my mythical reader.

In addition, my preparing extends to the post-production process.  I've learned to edit myself carefully and have others (usually in my writing group) to review my work and offer constructive criticism.  I've also researched the possible markets and publishers for my work and polished my query letter.

Turn rejection into motivation

Every time one of my manuscripts is rejected, this spurs me to create something better the next time.  If I receive actual advice, I scour my work to see where I can apply it.  Basically, I am always trying to improve my book.  Not just for myself, so that I can be a better writer, but because I have a goal in mind.

I will be published.  Aside from everything else I'm doing to better my writing, I will continue to stay positive.

Photo courtesy of Sayan Samana at

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