Warning! Warning! Second post of the week in which I get all mushy!
Awhile back I interviewed Mandy Hubbard (debut author of Prada and Prejudice) as part of the 2009 Debutante Author Interview series. I already frequented her blog, but several commenters mentioned reading her “Road to Publication” posts. Well, if y’all don’t know, Mandy had a pretty long road to publication, so I was really curious to read how her experience was. I mean, how often does a writer really outline the rejections as she gets them? Answer: not often.
So anyway, I decided to wait until I went on submission as sort of a treat, food for the “on submission soul,” I guess. Of course, with all sorts of other things swishing around in my head, I forgot it until I’d been on submission for a couple weeks. As soon as I remembered, I opened up the Road to Publication posts in a new window. First thing I read was this:
“So, THE JETTSETTERS SOCIAL CLUB has now been out on submission for 8 days. Those dreams of an overnight sale are dashed. Ha. Just kidding. I’m way more reasonable than that. My dream was 2 days….still kidding.”
I loved this! We can say we understand that it takes time to sell a book, blah, blah, blah, but any writer that claims they do not secretly hope (and maybe even more than hope), just a little, that that their book is going to land on an editor’s desk Friday afternoon only for a 212 number to pop up on the caller ID Monday morning—well, let’s just say any writer who claims they don’t hope for that is going to have a nose longer than Heidi Klum’s left leg.
As I continued to read through Mandy’s posts, I was constantly amazed by her honesty. But with her honesty, came a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“I was burnt out…the idea of reading and writing wasn’t so exciting. I didn’t think of it every single night as I fell asleep. I didn’t conjure up a thousand different versions of what it would be like to get THE CALL.”
That statement hurt my heart. I do fall asleep every single night thinking about what it will feel like to get The Call. What I will do to celebrate? Who will I tell first?—Extremely important considerations, of course. It’s incredibly comforting to know that other writers on submission (or even not yet on submission!) feel this, too. Because, I’ve got to admit, sometimes I feel a liiiiiittle silly with so much thought devoted to the dream of publication and of sharing my book with others.
This, however, reminded me that these thoughts are actually a blessing. It’s when these dreams disappear that your dream is in danger or dying. Every second I spend hoping to realize that goal pushes me to materialize it. But sustaining that level of hope and that level of desire requires energy. It can really take it out of you! So, I can certainly see how I could get burnt out. And THAT is one of the saddest writing thoughts I’ve ever had. Fortunately Mandy pulled out of her slump and proved that secret to success is persistence.
Yes, Mandy’s story is incredibly inspiring for sure. But seriously, somebody ought to canonize her and her agent because they both truly stuck with it. And the very thought of waiting that long makes me want to jam the voteß(Please see SNL for reference)
Then again, she reminds us that “there is ONE SINGLE PERSON who could change everything.” She’s right. It only takes one editor. Or one agent. Whatever it is you are hoping for. But you can’t snag one if you don’t put anything out there.
“No one thinks, ‘okay, this is going to take a year.’”
How true is that? No one thinks that at all. I certainly don’t. But Mandy’s experience is probably MUCH more common than we realize. Sobering, but I’ve also learned from her that it’s not the end of the world unless you let it be.
Anyway, I just wanted to share and to publicly voice my appreciation for these posts. Y’all should definitely head over to her blog and read through these. I’m so thankful that she was willing to voice her feelings as she felt them during the submission process.
NOTE: I provided the link to her posts above. Skip to the beginning. You really can’t appreciate unless you read through the process as she goes through it.