Wednesday, October 29, 2008

To Submit a Book: Blessing Or Curse

Seems like every time I submit a book to a prospective publisher, I go through a series of reactions. First, I research who I want to submit to, and then I polish my proposal. Next comes the sending. My finger hoovers over the send button or my hand clenches the envelope tighter as it rests on the mail slot. Why? Is it that hard for me to let go of this story? Am I so terrified of possible rejection? I'm not really sure, I guess you could say it's a combination of many factors.

I sweat. My stomach tightens and nausea burns deep in my belly. My hands tremble and I can't think straight. Each breath is a burden to my body. Am I doing the right thing to send this off? How will I react if I receive the dreaded rejection? I can imagine the joy I'll feel if the story is accepted, but a rejection, what will I do?

It's the thought that someone is going read what is deep in my heart then possibly decide it's not what they want. More questions work their way into my mind. Will they think I am a total idiot or a complete loser for sending this trash to them? They'll remember me as the one author they don't want anything else from. Nope, not her. Never again. Then I remember the stories I've sent that have since gone on to publication. My editors with each one have praised my writing and want anything I write. This one factor keeps me going.

Do I have an answer for why I feel this way? Looking far in the past, I have to say my confidence with my writing has always suffered. People close to me have never really read a lot and had a hard time believing in me and my ability. Because of this, I have severe doubts about my talent.

It's taken me years to work through these doubts. So do I send this book in or do I give up? No, I will not give up. I've worked too hard to fulfill my dream. It's taken me a long time to build my confidence enough to seek publication and I won't let my self doubts stop me.

In that second, strength rises in my heart and I press the send button or release the envelope. The package is sent. The deed done and I can not take it back. Does it make me feel better? Not really, the physical reactions are still there but with each submission, I become a little stronger and my confidence increases a bit more.

Does anyone else struggle with submitting works? What kinds of reactions do you have and how do you work through them?


Jess said...

I suffer from self-doubt too, Judy, and it's very hard for me to send things out. In fact, when Silhouette didn't buy my 2nd book, I became a realtor and gave up writing for about 8 years. It's always hard for me to let go of stuff too, but I have to admit I always have a back-up plan. Love Inspired has had my complete ms. since May 8th. I'm sure they'll reject it. My back-up plan is. . . well, I'll keep that to myself for right now. It's not the best back up plan...but at least it's a plan. :)

We can't ever give up. If we do, then we don't have a chance. That's exactly how we defeat ourselves!

Gina Ardito said...

I hit send or drop it in the mailbox immediately after I make the decision. Otherwise, I'd hem and haw forever. Much easier to plunge the button and then wonder if I forgot something, submitted to the wrong name, or made an idiot out of myself in some other way. Once it's gone, it's out of my hands and the Great Ethernet is in control.

Good luck, sweetie!

Judith Leger said...

Thanks Ladies.

I know, Jess, it kills me but I have to follow through. It's like a fire in the blood. Passion!

Judith Leger said...

Oh, God, I wish I could do that, Gina. What's really bad is when I do send it off I end up beating my head against the wall after I look over it and find there is something missing. That's when you want to scream bloody murder!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Every rejection makes me want to throw in the towel and quit!

In fact, I quit on a regular basis LOL!

Now, if only I could stick to my decision to quit.....

Not a chance :-)

Writers don't quit...they take a break or a hiatus (like Jess) but they never really quit.

Great post.

Anthony James Barnett said...

I absolutely hate it.

On the morning that I'd arranged to hand over 'Without Reproach' to the submissions editor, I re-wrote the first three pages - absolute heart attack stuff - but it was in my head and I couldn't leave it.

I don't think we're ever ready to submit.

Even after years of writing short stories for women's magazines, every story I submitted was a wrench.

Judith said...

Pam, I will come after you if give up! Remember I know where you live!

Judith said...

Thanks for coming by Anthony! Sometimes those last minute inspirations are right on the mark! I always do my best when I'm rushed.

Winona said...

Well, Judy, you swallow the bile and press than computer key or drop than ms. in the mail slot. Why? Because your writing is greater than your self doubt. You have a gift. Don't ignore it when those nagging demons talk to you.

At least you can say you've received several acceptances. Count those.

And, as Jess said, "we can't ever give up."

Love you,


Mindy Blanchard said...

I hate the whole submission business. I make myself sick to my stomach and just send it out. Then I have to hide the work so that I don't nitpick after it. But I fight myself and eventually dig it out, reviewing every error and mistake and nightmare that I envision on the page.

I suffer from the self-doubt demon, also. It is what it is. But stubborn as ever I just can't stop doing it.

This is what makes us writers I guess. Creating. Submitting. Being able to receive and withstand rejection. Finally receiving acceptances. And doing it all over again.

Your writing is beautiful. You have to keep sending out. Because I only get to see your published work. And I learn so much from you!

We missed you at the meeting. They had some great parts.


Billy said...

Submitting is far scarier than writing. It is releasing the baby out into the world, where there are bullies and bad teachers and jungle gyms to fall from. It is the single most courageous thing an author will ever do. It's also putting yourself out there, a bit exposed, and wondering if the editor will see what you've seen in the mirror. Yes, scary.

Billy said...

PS. But as you say in another post, when the news is good, it's time to celebrate. Do the Snoopy dance.