I spent the better part of yesterday morning getting my submission of "Lies in Chance" ready for the editor at The Wild Rose Press. She wanted the first three chapters and I did a little magic so that she actually go the first four. Now that may sound sneaky, but every time you submit something, you have to look at the previous rejections and try to make the submission better so that you don't get another rejection. It's all part of a big honking game.
After I hit "Send" I started the waiting period. At least Wild Rose gives me a time frame for a response from the editor. Some agents and editors just say, "If I don't want anything more from you, you won't hear anything from me." That's problematic, because how long do you wait until you think you haven't heard anything? A week? A Month? A Year? It's different for every agent or editor. I just read on Facebook from one author who said, "Hey, just because you haven't heard in a while doesn't mean they don't want your book. It might mean they forgot about it."
When the optimistic view of your business is "Maybe they just forgot about it," you have to wonder about the business itself, don't you?
So why do we write? Let's face it, the business of writing and publishing is a horrifying, self esteem destroying business. You work hard and you bleed your story out onto the page...or screen...only to be rejected again and again and again. Yet we keep writing, we keep submitting. It's like bashing your head against a tree, getting up and doing it again. If we saw someone doing that, we'd stop them, give them an aspirin, and ask them to accompany us to the nearest mental health facility.
Writing is different mostly because writers are the most optimistic people ever. Someone, somewhere wants what we've written. And we're going to keep submitting and polishing and editing and submitting until the day we die.
Recently I judged a contest for unpublished writers. Some of the entries I read were brilliant. (I'm happy to say that one of the entries I judged did make the finals.) A few were very, very raw. None of the ideas the writers had were bad. Some of them had tiny little things that needed tweaking. Some had some major hurdles, like maybe the need for a grammar refresher course. But none of the entries were without merit. As a judge, I could only give my opinion, which is what 99% of writing is. Someone's opinion.
Are there those out there who think I'm just bashing my head against a tree? Of course. But I figure, writing is mostly about opinions. Hey, I LOVE "Wuthering Heights." Everyone else who lives in my house thinks it's a terrible book. (Of course, two of those are teens and the other one is hubby who likes his fiction language a little less...archaically formal.) When it comes to books, it's all opinion. Which means when it comes to writers, it's all optimism. We WILL find that agent/editor that wants our work.
A bigger cause for optimism for those writers who just want to get paid for writing: E-publishing:
I've told you about the rejections I've gotten for "Lies in Chance." Wild Rose is the final stop on the publication train. If they don't want it, the story of my heart is going to get self published on Amazon. I'll take it to the people and skip the publishers. I've had enough readers read this story and love it, that I know if I could just get it past those in the business of publishing, and to the people who like to READ, I'll reach an audience who will love it.
So when you sit down to write, or you get that email of rejection, or you are waiting to hear from and agent, bear this in mind: Yes, it is harder to get a book published these days, especially for new authors. But there's always the wild world of the e-reader.
And that, my friends, is a big reason for optimism!
Now, go forth and WRITE!