The wonderful thing about being a writer is the joy you get from putting your heart and soul into a piece of work, spending hours, days, weeks, years poring over it, making it as amazing as possible, as perfect as possible, getting it polished and ready to hand out to the world and then giving it to complete strangers and waiting a small eternity for them to send you a form letter saying “ha ha ha! this is shit!” or, better yet, never hearing from them again.
Mmm, makes you feel all warm and cosy.
Clearly, I’m being facetious. Sending your books out is a bloody nightmare! It is especially worse for slightly introverted people (and let’s be honest, many authors are as their entire job is to close themselves away from people and make shit up in a dark room) because the last thing we want is for anyone to actually read it, but of course, we also want everyone to read it!
To paraphrase Hemmingway…
Writing is easy. You just sit at a computer and bleed.
Submitting to a publisher is easier… you just stand naked in front of people and wait for them to judge you. (And let me tell you, size is definitely an issue!)
When I first started sending books out I basically whored myself with very little in the way of research. There was definitely an arrogance there on my part. I’ve put all this work in, it must be good enough. It wasn’t. Oh, and I aimed big. Who publishes Neil Gaiman’s books? Terry Pratchett’s? They’ll do for me! It’s almost impossible to get yourself through the door of one of the big five without an invite (that’s the reason, honest!) so I threw my book to every small publisher I could find. I got instant answers… and that felt so good… but they all gushed over the opportunity they were giving me to pay them a shit ton of money. Eventually, as I think I’ve mentioned before, I did my research and it worked out well for the Arthur stories, but here we go again. Time to send some books out and see what happens.
I’ve done my research. I have a list (hell, I have a spreadsheet) and I know all the rules, but it’s a massive ball ache. Writing books is hard… summarising everything within your book in 500 hundreds words or less while trying to keep some of the magic and mystery alive… is a bloody nightmare! And some publishers get really cranky if you send it to more than one at a time, but here’s the thing with that, waiting 6 months to get a rejection letter means you can drag out the process for years! That’s one rule I frequently break. When I send books out, I send them out in droves! Another rule the great Conn Iggulden has suggested people take with a pinch of salt is the one asking for the first three chapters only. He reckons just send the whole lot in because if they like it they have it right there ready and waiting. But, to be fair, who is going to reject a Conn Iggulden book these days? The guy is a legend, churning out bestseller after bestseller.
So, I’ll be breaking a few rules this weekend and no doubt having a few beverages in the evening to drown my sorrows. There’s nothing quite like that post-click send glow when you realise you’ve addressed it to the wrong person, or you spelled something incorrectly, or you get it into your head that they should have already read it and sent you a six-book deal within half-an-hour of receiving the email.
And of course, instead of actually sending out submissions I’m writing this, but now we’re at the end…
Wish me luck!