Friday, December 10, 2010

Weathering the submission process

When I started Project Sparkle, I agonized, sweated, and swore writing rough drafts was the hardest thing ever.

When I revised Project Sparkle the whining started. Revision is so hard, so time consuming, so endless!

Then one miraculous day it was done. After weeks of tearing out my hair, I learned I had done well. I got to move on to the next step. I couldn't wait.

Except... the submission process stinks!

Of course, I play this game at every stage. Whenever the writing isn't going well, I'm convinced the next part will be easier.

But perhaps the submission process really is the worst. Or at least, it has the highest and lowest points. A request for a full from one agent, followed by a form rejection from another.

Since I know my manuscript is ready to send out, I had hoped that would make the process a bit easier. It probably has, but the submission process is still grueling.

On the Blueboard, people were sharing blog posts on the odds of getting published.

Pub Rants: Agent Kristin Nelson's stats for 2009 (yes, she did say she received 38,000 queries!)

Editorial Anonymous talks about finding 3 good manuscripts out of 15,000.

The Temp, The Actress, and the Writer: author Adrienne Kress writes about Kristin's stats, and why they don't matter.

Harold Underdown at The Purple Crayon has a comprehensive post on all of this called: The Odds of Getting Published Stink--and Why You Shouldn't Care.

At least I'm not the only one receiving a form rejection!

Strangely, all these stats make me feel a little better. And they make my work drafting Project Demo much more refreshing!

What stage are you weathering at the moment? Is it the worst?


  1. I reached the "dreaded middle" of my YA Fantasy and have been trying to resist the whispers of other projects in my ear. I know if I keep playing the field and don't commit, I'll never actually get a manuscript finished, so I can start revising, and then submitting.

    Hopefully your quest for an agent will be short, so you can get nervous all over again when the book goes on submission to editors ;-).


  2. Oh, that's a hard part, too, Elisabeth, when the going gets tough and other projects are so sparkly and new (that's how I ended up with Project Sparkle, btw! =) ). Good luck plowing through! It IS a great moment when that first draft is finished!

  3. I think the submission process really is the worst part because it's totally out of your control. At least with writing and revising, you can still DO something to make things better. But with submitting, all you can do is hope. It can be maddening, but hang in there!

  4. Worst stage for me at the moment is outlining. I've got 3 or 4 plot threads that need to entwine, revelations that need to pop up at appropriate points and 3 or 4 different POV characters. I need to have everything planned as much as possible or I'll just waste my time and end up having to rewrite huge chunks.

    Once I have a map and know where I'm going, the writing comes pretty easily - that's the bit I look forward to!

  5. Thanks, Anna. I hadn't thought about it in terms of control, but you're absolutely right! Sometimes the writing is frustrating and it FEELS out of my control, but within a few days I can usually figure something out. The submission process can be weeks, even months out of my control!

    Oh, I hate outlining too--I'm always so anxious to get on with the writing! And your story sounds particularly complex! At least you can look forward to the writing and know it will be better for the work you're putting in now. Outlines don't work that way for me at all, but I wish they did!

  6. Boy, the lack of control when mss are out, circulating is maddening. I've got several mss out to an agent at her request -- not hearing back is so frustrating. I agree, Anne, I think the submission process is much worse than the writing process.

  7. Oh, that is maddening, Andrea! I hope you hear something soon.

    Luckily, I must say no one is (yet!) dragging their feet for me. Perhaps that's one benefit of the holiday season--I know things are going to take a bit longer and don't begrudge that.

  8. Oh, Anne, I'll have to remember this post when I start submitting my ms. I do exactly like you and believe that every stage, every learning cycle, is the worst. LOL.

    I enjoy following your process and am looking forward to reading about the big "yes".

  9. Thanks so much, Bridgette! I look forward to that big "yes" post, too! =)


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