books, the submission process, writing

I’ll Have What She’s Having

I got a nibble on a query for the romance novel.  It is funny how rejection through the submission process can make “erm, we’ll see,” sound like an enthusiastic, “Yes!”  What the publishing house is saying is, “You did well enough on your synopsis, so we’re cautiously optimistic that it wouldn’t be a total waste of our time to look at the full work,” and what it sounds like is Meg Ryan in that diner scene from When Harry Met Sally.

I am saturnine enough to temper my own [frequently] misguided excitement, so the [frequent] disappointments are usually tiny ones.  I did have one that made me sad for a few weeks–if I’m being honest, I’m still very sad over it–but the truly striking, lingering disappointments are rare.

I do attribute most of this to a familiarity with the audition process, as I’ve said a hundred times before.  I don’t take it personally because taste is relative, and taste isn’t always even an issue (as with the agent who told me she already had something too similar in her list. Obvs she liked the idea–she’d already bought one!  But no one needs two purple, patent leather sofas in the living room.)  There’s also the problem of casting John Wayne to play Genghis Khan.  Sometimes, it’s about wanting a name and not caring about the face.

Part of it has to do with blogging, funnily enough.  I put myself out there for criticism almost every day.  I’m always writing and always exposing myself/my writing to the public eye.  I get enough feedback from it that I don’t expect every submission to be received like the birth of Aphrodite.  I’m certainly not immune to criticism or rejection, but I’ve made myself vulnerable through the written word for so long that it’s as natural as talking to strangers on the bus–which is to say, still incredibly uncomfortable, but not impossible, or life-ruining when I don’t get the desired response.

Besides, if I want that book deal, I can’t be afraid of the word no.  I’m going to hear a lot of no.  If you’re trying to publish, you’re going to hear a lot of no.  But it only takes one yes.  It doesn’t matter if you get a million responses that say, “No.”  One little yes will change all that.  And that’s what makes it okay to get excited about the maybe.

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