Thursday, December 11, 2008

On Why the Submissions Process is Like Dating

Here I am, not waiting by the phone.

Last year I was listening to an editor speak at the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Fall Conference, and she said that finding an editor is a lot like dating. Just as you may go out with someone who is perfectly nice, but just not right for you, an editor may like your story, but it isn’t what they’re looking for at that time. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person or even a bad writer, they just want something else.

Recently I sent the manuscript of my middle grade novel to an agent. We were supposed to have had a meeting at a conference, but he was unable to attend. I spoke with one of the conference coordinators a few weeks later, and she put me in touch with this person, who graciously agreed to look at my work. As soon as I sent it, I felt like I was on a blind date. Beating heart, sweaty palms, the works. I kept telling myself not to place too many expectations on this. After all, people get lots of rejections from agents. Besides, he probably got dozens of submissions just in that day. I’m sure that in his world, my beloved book was just one of many. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered if he was “the one.” The possibility that my work was in the hands of someone who could make things happen lurked.

After a day or two, I stopped thinking about it so much. I still haven’t heard back from the agent, and that’s okay. He’s busy. I was never the kind of girl to wait by the phone for a guy to call for a second date. On the other hand, if the phone rings and I answer and it’s him, I’m pretty sure I’ll have butterflies in my stomach.


Anonymous said...

If finding an agent is like dating, finding a publisher is like marriage. I can so relate to the sweaty palms and racing heart!! In all my experience (self-publishing, small publisher, mega NY publisher) the thrill of turning words into a book is always the same. Best to luck in your submissions process! You WILL find the needle in the haystack!

Michelle said...