The Frustration of Submission

I’m working on fixing up a book so I can continue submitting to agents with it.

The process has gone a little like this:

Step 1.  Write Book.
Step 2.  Edit Book.
Step 3.  Write Query Letter/Synopsis.
Step 4.  Submit Book.
Step 5.  Edit Book again.
Step 6.  Submit Book again.
Step 7.  Edit Book again.

I’ve gotten to the point where I know it’s different but I am not sure if it’s better.  I may just be splitting hairs at this point.

Let’s face it, squiders.  Submission is not fun.  Writing?  Fun.  Editing?  Fun, especially that first real edit, where you take the raw material of your first draft and reshape it into something coherent and awesome.  Planning and research?  Still fun.  Submission?  Not fun. 

Maybe there comes a point where you are so awesome that even submission becomes fun, probably because you don’t really have to worry about rejection.

For most people, writing the query and the synopsis tends to add onto the pain.  I don’t have that problem.  Whatever else may be said about my writing, I can write a damn good query.   Now, the prose…

Sometimes I wonder if I’m going about this wrong.  In the last year, I have sent out nine queries.  Two were no-responses, two were partial requests, five were rejects, though admittedly all of those had some pages attached.  I am aware that this is an embarrassingly small amount to have done in said time period.  Also, seeing how this is my second edit since I started querying, one could argue that I have some sort of weird perfectionism thing going that I need to get over.

I’m also starting to ponder if I’ve got my age range wrong, if it wouldn’t be easier to sell it as a MG than a YA, even though the main characters are 17.  I know YA tends to be dark and gritty these days, and this is neither.  Is there even a market for off-world YA fantasy?  What’s the difference between MG and YA anyway?

I’m beginning to think that I’m sabotaging myself.  I know this is a hard,  slow process, but I don’t have much to show for my work.  I know I have confidence issues, so perhaps I am afraid of success, and that’s why I keep rewriting instead of submitting?

Come and share your submission woes and successes with me, friends.   (Feel free to psycho-analyze my submission habits too.  Whatevs.)

5 responses to this post.

  1. What are your thoughts on self-e-publishing, a la Joe Konrath?

    I have to admit that I have yet to finish a novel to what I’d consider a publishable level of quality, but I’m working towards it and have been reading as much as I can on the e-publishing option, having already read everything I could find on traditional publishing previously. I’m finding myself more and more in favor of e-publishing, for a varity of reasons, but I’m very interested in seeing what other people think about it too.


    • My novella that’s out is also self-e-published on the Kindle and the Nook. It’s easy to do and not too hard to format, but I still sell more physical books than ebooks.

      I’m not against self-publishing again in the future, but I’d like to try more traditional markets for my more traditional products, at least for now. Plus, unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to being self-published, and I’d like a bit of legitimacy.


      • I can see that. 🙂

        I’m new to reading your blog, so I didn’t realize you’d already published a novella that way.

        I don’t have any advice, but I definitely sympathize with how grueling the process is.

  2. Here is one blog post delineating MG from YA:

    Personally, I could see Broken Mirrors as MG. Yes, Winnie is involved in an overarching plot, but there is a fair amount of identity finding going on, friendships to sort out, etc.

    Let’s get you to step 8!


  3. Ugh. Submitting. I feel your pain.

    For me, first was the procedural shock. My book is ready to query, I start researching the process, and what? I have to write a catchy query letter? AND a *gulp* synopsis?? Query letter wasn’t so bad, but the synopsis. Ugh.

    And, of course, the steady stream of form rejections left me wondering, was it the book concept, or the query letter? Crushing at first, I started to become inured to them. Never really laughed them off, but the dream-maiming pain diminished.

    Then I got a partial request (hurrah!) which a) validated my query letter, and b) reset my Hope Level to full power. And eventually got a pass, which sent me spiraling down the I’ll-Never-Be-Published drain again (and man, let me tell you, there is some seriously nasty gunk at the bottom of that drain!).

    But I kept going, more out of inertia than belief of a happily ever after, more rejections, another partial request that resulted in a pass, and so on. The partial requests are insidious, because I get this absolute conviction that THIS IS IT, THIS IS THE ONE, and then they pass. I am still waiting to become inured to those rejections, but I haven’t had enough partial requests yet.

    It’s been years now for this one book, and at the end of this year, I’ll be self-publishing. I still have queries outstanding, but at this point I’ve come to realize that the book isn’t quite … standard enough, and I am not expecting any further nibbles.

    I too worry about the self-publishing stigma, and the amount of self-marketing work I’ll need to do, and how the heck am I supposed to do it. But I also remind myself that I have other books on the burner, and I can pursue the traditional publication route with them, and who knows?

    But yeah, querying has to be about the most soul-crushing experience a person can have. With the possible exception of torture.


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