This is the hardest part of submissions. I’d almost forgotten how hard it is.
I have queries out. I have requested materials out. It’s only been a week, and I’m jittery with the need to check my email over and over and over again.
My Blackberry dings for my gmail account, and I’ve got to check. It’s probably spam; someone trying to get me to refinance my house (Not Hardly), buy vinyl siding (which I don’t need), replacement windows (which were new when I bought the house just a year and a half ago), or someone trying to get me to buy Vicodin or Viagra over the internet. (Yeah, I don’t think so.)
There’s a difference with short story submissions. You generally can only send them out to one market at a time. You send it, note your calendar for the date that you sent it, and move on to something else. You might send out a second short story, for a different market, in the meantime, or continue working on a novel.
Novels, on the other hand, are submitted by query letter first, and then the agent/editor will ask for pages if they want to see them. Unless an agent or editor specifies in their submission guidelines that you are not allowed to send out simultaneous submissions (which I would be leery of) you can send to every agent/editor who takes submissions at the same time. I wouldn’t recommend it, but that’s another blog post for another day.
And yet, somehow, it’s worse now that I remember it being before. I’ve gotten better responses to this novel/query letter than I have with any other piece of writing I’ve ever done. I know there’s not a ton out there in the market similar to it (which could be a good thing or a bad thing). Maybe it’s because I have requested material out there that I’m waiting for a response to, as opposed to waiting for responses to query letters, although I’m waiting for some of those, too. I know it takes time for agents to respond. I know that their current clients come first. And that’s as it should be.
Heaven knows, I’ve got to triage my own work at the day job sometimes. I don’t look at every single case assigned to me every single day. That’s impractical. (Though I did a little bit of that as a legal intern, terrified I was going to miss something on a case. That changed with bigger caseloads, bigger cases, and nine years of experience.) There are days that I’m just working through the pile. There are days that I’m in court all day. There are also days that I’m in jury trial, which means that even the writing in the evening is on hold until I have a verdict, get a good meal (since I can’t eat during the day while I’m in trial; adrenaline gives me a jittery stomach) and get a good night’s sleep.
And yet, I’ll see someone who has my query letter blog that they’re reading query letters, or someone with a full or partial post on Twitter that they’re reading manuscripts, and I stare at my email as if an answer is going to magically appear on the screen. And that’s fine. I’ve got no problem with blogging or Twittering agents or editors….I do both, myself.
I know better. But I’m human, too.
And so I stand up here, and say… Hello. My name is Addie. And I’m an Obsessive Email Checker. Again.
I feel like there should be a twelve step group for people like me.