Saturday, May 14, 2011

Submissions: How Not To Give In

I've written before about the agonies of waiting for a response to a writing submission.  It's been more than a week (nearly two) since I sent in my first romance manuscript to Carina Press.

Although I received the auto-response saying that they received my submission, the submission guidelines on the Carina Press website say that I should wait twelve to sixteen weeks for an editorial response.

Twelve to sixteen weeks!?!

I know that's not long in the grand scheme of things, and certainly much shorter than the response times I've grown accustomed to from literary journals, but it's three or four months of waiting when the stakes are personally very high.  Therein lies the agony.

Writing a book is like, well, you've heard all of the analogies.  Most often, you hear "giving birth to a child".  I wouldn't have any firsthand knowledge of that one but just let me say "oh no" and "ouch!".

So, other than twiddling my spacebar-pressers endlessly, what do I do?

Well, in the meantime, I lessen the agony with worrying to my friends and family, my writing group, and taking occasional forays into the Harlequin forums, which are filled with people in the same position as me.  It helps to see others suffering the same agony (there must be a long German word for the phenomenon) but mostly it helps to commiserate and know that I'm not alone.

We're all in the same boat, sink or swim.  The few of us who are thrown a life jacket in the form of a R & R (revise and resubmit) or a request for the full manuscript (full request) are celebrated by the whole community.  It's a great feeling of fellowship and sympathy, even when you lurk around the forums as I often do.

The best advice I've read on the Submission Care forums is also the most frequent: keep at it.  Keep submitting your manuscripts even if you receive the dreaded R -- a rejection without any feedback.  I've had those.  They smart.

And, most important of all, keep writing.  While I'm waiting on the response to my first Carina Press submission, I will be writing my second -- and while I'm waiting for the reply on that one, I'll be writing my third.  Because (I think) each one gets a little (or a lot) better and each one takes me closer to my goal of a published romance novel.

For all of you out there in the same situation, good luck!  You're not alone.

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