I’ve started the dreaded query letter process, submitting my work to the judgement of others.

For me that’s a big deal. It feels like the first true test. I found it nerve-racking enough sending my manuscript to beta readers but now I’m exposing myself to professional judgement.

So what’s my point? I’m hardly the first person to experience anxiety when trying to get an agent or publisher. Well, the point of this post isn’t to talk about that, it’s to talk about how exciting it is.

It may well be that I’m setting myself up for a long line of rejection and pain over the next few weeks/months but at this moment I feel very excited. Here’s a list of the highs:

  • Finally getting the manuscript to a point when I think it’s ready to send. Exciting!
  • Researching potential agents and publishers. It’s a bit like deciding where to go on holiday without worrying about budget or browsing properties on the internet. It’s unlikely to happen but in that moment you can indulge the fantasy. I was wowed by people’s book lists and client lists. I warmed to some people immediately and not to others. And then, I’d delight in either adding them to the shortlist or crossing them off. At this stage I’m the one making the choices! Exciting!
  • Making a spreadsheet. Sad I know, but there you are. I just managed to resist using formulae to keep track of how long all the responses take. Exciting!
  • Putting the final list onto a spreadsheet*. Just looking at it made me smile. I’d be blown over if any one** of these people were to respond positively. Exciting!
  • The first submission. Every bit of it: Drafting the email, putting in the attachments, double checking everything, triple checking, having a stern talk with myself, sending it off. OMG! Arcane dances in the living room, bizzare hand waving, grinning, ice cream. Super-exciting!
  • More submissions! Learning that what had been prepared for the first submission didn’t fit the guidelines for the others, which in itself isn’t a high but again when it’s ready there’s a real sense of achievement. Exciting!
  • Thrilling to every new email! Because who knows what the next one will bring. Even the good old spam mails can give that brief flutter of excitement now.

So here’s the thing. No matter what happens (and I know there will be rejection and tears and wailing at some point) I’ve had a great time doing this already. The thrill of taking a step towards a dream, even if it’s the last one, is something to treasure.

I guess I wanted to write this down to remind myself what this feels like. I’d probably forget otherwise.


*Yes, the spreadsheet gets two separate entries. That’s just how I roll.

**Though of course I want them all!

3 responses to “Submitting

  1. Spreadsheets are totally exciting in the right contexts. This is definitely one of them.

    Katherine Hajer recently posted..clarity vs. dumbing downMy Profile

  2. It's great that you've got the MS to the point where you can submit it! And good luck, Peter. Obviously you don't have to sweat rejections; I don't know anyone successful who doesn't have a stack of them. Bonus to you that you have Emma to bounce thoughts off, too!
    John Wiswell recently posted..Do Readers Actually Want Character Development?My Profile

    • Ah, so rejections are like tokens you collect in the board game of success. That's good to know. And yes, Em is awesomesauce and I am Captain Luckypants to be married to her. 😀

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