Monday, January 3, 2011

Whipple on Submission Limbo

Natalie Whipple of Between Fact and Fiction blogs about the purgatory of submission limbo -- and what to do when every option seems to go against you. Excerpts:
Today is a serious day. I'm going to talk about things I've kept off this blog for about 15 months. I'm going to talk about being on submission -- more specifically about what it's like to experience all those things writers dread happening.

Because, really, no writer wants to be that person. The one who has to go through hell just to get a book on the shelf. You hope with all your being that your journey won't be too horrible. And you should. Without that hope? I don't know how I'd be where I am, even if it's not entirely where I want to be.

But what happens when it is you? What happens when writers list off "horror stories" about their publishing journey and you realize you've basically been through all of them?

If you want to know, read on. If not, stop here and go eat a cupcake. Actually, everyone should eat a cupcake while reading this. It'll take the edge off.
Read the whole thing. Whipple chronicles every outlet she's explored since having an agented book float from publisher to publisher for a fifteen-month period. Work on another project? Check. Try not to get jealous over writing friends who've had success veritably tackle them from the get-go? Check. Revise original book when an interested editor asks? Check. Restrain herself from grabbing a large-caliber firearm and going postal when the same editor emails to say, sorry, we don't want it after all? Check.

Now, I'm still novel-less, mostly because I lack Whipple's dogged good humor. A few frustrating short-story submissions have had me eyeing the "psychiatrists" section of the Yellow Pages; dealing with a novel in purgatory might have me flipping to "sanitariums." But though the short-story game requires less emotional commitment (at least if my experience is any guide), the wait itself is no less fraught with frustration. Delayed manuscripts, lost manuscripts, uncommented-upon manuscripts -- it's enough to make the most stalwart want to throw in the towel. That's why I find it helpful from time to time to kick back and intentionally write something not for publication. Online confabs, such as John Kenyon's
fairy-tale / crime-story mashup and Shared Storytelling, remind me why I persevere in this hobby -- for love of it.

(Picture: CC 2008 by
bookgrl; Hat Tip: The Innocent Flower)


C. N. Nevets said...

Thanks for the great blog post, but unfortunately we're not able to use it at this time. Best luck.

Loren Eaton said...

(rummages around for machete and whetstone)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Natalie is a good friend of mine and I've had a hard time seeing her go through this. She's doing much better this year, though. I can't wait to see what great things come her way!

Loren Eaton said...

I hope she has a better year this year. 2010 sounded pretty rough for her.