new short story collection. Out now!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Anxious anticipation

With the manuscript for my fourth novel now complete to my satisfaction and ready to send, I have begun the dreaded querying process. There are a number of reasons why I don't look forward to, and I don't enjoy, this period of anxious anticipation, but the least of them is rejection. 

I've been writing for 16 years and I'm still wandering around in the forest of anonymity. I'm used to rejection. I've become very philosophical about it because I believe that I am a good writer. When an editor rejects my work, they are voicing their opinion, and that is all. If they offer some constructive criticism, which is rare, I take it on board, and then I send my work to someone else. If they say nothing, or offer some generic 'thanks, but no thanks', I send my work to someone else. I keep looking for the editor who 'gets' me. The one who reads my writing and says: 'I like this. This is good. This works for me.' I'm looking for that person right now.

No, it's not the rejection that bothers me as such. It's the process. Find a suitable publisher, read their submission guidelines, put together a submissions package to meet their requirements, send it, then wait. There are a few publishers who unfairly do not accept simultaneous submissions, but the majority understand that, given some quite long response times, it is reasonable for writers to reach out to as many publishers as possible, as quickly as possible. The query process is a rolling sales pitch.

It's time consuming, and somewhat annoying due to the diverse submissions criteria of various publishers. I understand why some of them are so exacting. With so many submissions coming in, they have to use whatever means available to sort the wheat from the chaff, and to make it as easy as possible for themselves.

Time consumed by querying, means less time for writing. I'm pretty confident of finding a publisher, but feel no less anxiety as I send each query off on a wing and a prayer. I wonder when. I wonder who. I wonder if this time, I will break free from the prison of obscurity. Wish me luck.


  1. I wonder that you don't publish on your own. Perhaps you might find that to be a better way to go. You already have books out, so you should have a bit of a following, and this way you could get more books out faster.

    Just my two cents.

    1. I have thought about it. My first novel was self published in paperback form. I guess I am stubbornly trying to resist the stigma still attached to self published novels. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life when, after 61 query letters to various publishers, the editor of Artema Press wrote to me and said that she loved my manuscript (Loathe Your Neighbor) and wanted to publish it. I appreciate your two cents, Liz. Thanks.

  2. I use to feel this way and there is a large part of me that still does. However, another part (I'm slicing myself like bread) thrills at this process--likening it to solving a mystery or going on a treasure hunt. It's amazing the variety of publishing houses you can find with a little digging. I enjoy looking at their catalogs--what books will they soon be publishing? etc. I like reading about their house--how many people work there, how did they start, etc. Do they have a blog, a twitter account, are they on Google Plus. What literary journals do they recommend? That's what I do for fun. : )

    1. Really Leanne? Wow. That's a great attitude. Good for you. I hate all that stuff. I especially detest having to continually modify my submission packages to satisfy the diverse submission requirements of various publishers. So time consuming. was good to hear from, and I'm glad we're blogging buddies.