It's hard to feel like an author when one isn't writing much. It's harder still when one lets opportunities to publish waltz right by without a word. Well, that's the end of that.
I dove in this week. I submitted online to two local publishers, and tomorrow I will submit by mail to two more. After the nerve shredding process was done I sought some comfort from my husband. His words chilled me. "And you're not done. You'll find 4 more to submit to, and then 4 more, and then 4 more until your book is accepted." Sigh. I know he's right. Dontcha hate that?
So, one of the ways we truly feel like authors is to submit our work for publication. We take something we've slaved over, loved, hated, shared, changed, stretched and smoothed and send it off for consideration. We wait those agonizing weeks, and months, to hear back from said publisher (or agent--I was turned down by 5 of them this summer alone). The worst news is they don't want it. Our ego takes a ding (sometimes a big one, no lie) and we're out some time and expense (especially if you mailed it), but we press on. They could want it, but only if we are willing to make some changes. The artist in us screams "No! This is my baby, perfect as is!" but our stomach says, "Ya, I'll take a look at your suggestions." After all, some of us have kids to feed.
The best answer is, of course, that the publisher wants us. They love the story, they know they can move forward with it. Hurrah! This kind of acceptance, and the memory of it, can buoy us up in harder times to remind us that we are contributing something worthwhile.
This particular book, my current submission, is a labor of love. My characters are so real to me the villain demanded an alternate ending and I WROTE IT!!! He's quiet now, which is nice--but a little lonely. I have worked, off and on admittedly, at perfecting this piece for twenty years. This current incarnation is nothing like the original, but I'm truly hoping that's a good thing.
Here's the irony: I know the publisher will want to make changes. Editor, really; I can't blame it all on the publisher. And, even after all this book and I have been through, I will seriously consider these changes. This is a labor of love, true. I have loved (and at times hated) this book, but I'm smart enough to know what I don't know. And I'm willing to at least hear suggestions on how to make it better. Because, after all, don't we all want to put something out there that's the very best it can be?