January 29, 2003

Submission Blues

This is the part I hate, the part that drives me insane, the part that makes me question why the hell I ever decided I wanted to try making writing my career. It's the submission process. Since I have the time while I let the first draft of Reach of Shadows cool off a bit, I decided to dive back into submitting my query for my novel Crystal Past. Now, I've already sent queries to a trunk-load of agents, and not one of them wanted to even read the manuscript or a partial. I'm told, repeatedly, that publishers don't accept unsolicited submissions from unagented writers. I don't always believe what I'm told so I went and checked this out myself. After all, I remember a day when you could submit to some publishers, and I had. I even got a request to see my manuscript from a kind editor over at St. Martins--which led nowhere, I might add.

But as I'm flipping through the utterly useless Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2002 (I know, time to waste money on an update...NOT!) I noticed that all the publishers have indeed decided not to accept submissions from the common, unagented folk like me. I've spent all morning flipping through the book, reading Publisher's Weekly on-line, and looking at publishers' websites, and have nothing to show for it. I don't know where to begin, or even if there is a place to begin. I guess I could go back to submitting to agents, but something tells me I'd just be buying a bunch of $0.74 form rejection letters (not including cost of envelopes and paper). Why would an agent even bother requesting to see the manuscript of an unproven talent that's likely to garnish him a mere fifteen percent of a $3000 advance? Not that I don't think my query is intriguing.

So, yeah. I hate this part. No matter what troubles I come up against in the actual writing of a book, I'm usually having fun. There is nothing fun about the submission process though. It is a depressing exercise in futility, and is the only time I ever seriously think I should give up this racket all together.