Friday, March 22, 2013

How the publishing world is like high school

Not necessarily in a bad way though :)

Recently I was chatting with an author friend about how we're both waiting ever so patiently for news from editors about our newest manuscripts. For anyone who is trying to get published the old fashioned way, you know the wait is often long. I said to her, "I feel like I'm in high school again. Why hasn't he called me back yet?"

And that got me thinking. The whole publishing process is a lot like those awkward self-concious years.

***Now I must say before you continue, this is high school in MY day....1991-1995. Things have changed a lot since then, with the internet and texting and such, so yeah, some of this might not happen exactly for teens today, or anyone who was in high school the last 10 or so years. But anyway, the feelings are still there. So now you can continue reading :)

When we send out that first query, it's like sending a note, or asking your friend to go over to so and so and ask if he thinks you're cute. It's the first line of communication. It's the opening, to see if this crush is gonna go any further.

And then you get a request, just the first 3 chapters. That's like the guy writing back or telling the friend, "Yeah, she's cute." There's a spark there.

Then comes the full request. That's the telephone number exchange and phone call. You're in! Partially, anyway. They want to know more about you....more about your story.

And then there's waiting. And more waiting. You're on the phone with your girlfriends whining, "Why hasn't he called again? What is he thinking? Does he like me?" In the publishing world, weeks and months will pass with no word. In the teen world, probably only a day or two, maybe a week. But both feel like FOR. EV. ER.

And then the contract or offer of representation lands on your doorstep, or inbox, which is equivalent to a guy asking a girl out. "He likes me. He really likes me!"And the jubilation commences.

But what if that doesn't happen? Yep...pretty much still the same thing. Rejection happens to us all. And just like 15 year old girls, us authors cry into our pillows wondering, "What's wrong with me? Why don't they like me? Am I not cute enough?"

And usually you never get an answer. Sometimes the publishing world will give you a reason, especially if you've gotten all the way to the full request phase. Teen boys, not so much. Usually it's because some other girl looks shinier. (Teen boys are easily distracted by shiny things.) They don't see the awesomeness that is you. And that's very true in the publishing world too. It's such a subjective business and maybe that particular agent or editor just doesn't see your book's awesomeness and shininess. But there will be someone else who does. I hope teenage girls know this. The right guy is out there. He just might not have seen you yet. For writers, the right agent or editor is out there...and you'll find them too.


  1. I love this. When you're 'waiting' it feels like everyone else is getting asked to the prom but you. Thanks for this post.

    1. YES!!!!!!! That is so so true!!!!!! "Will I ever get asked to the dance?"