Thursday, October 11, 2012

Future-us

The work got done this past weekend, I'm proud to say. I also feel like I learned some things. Like about the idea of a brief, open-door policy to unagented submissions for a major publisher. The actual activity required some additional information which was surprising at the beginning, and understandable toward the end. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, but even as I was trying to get in things early, I could see evidence that the submission portal was under duress, trying to shoulder the load of everyone trying to access it. It occurred to me that the idea might have been something they had lightly discussed doing, then pulled the trigger on just to see what it would be like. Then, in the place of the river they expected, an ocean swelled up, threatening to crash their servers. If a publisher underestimated ebooks, I thought, it might have even more traction than anyone suspected. Then, once the portal was even accessible, it required a synopsis of the book, a query letter, even a "best scene." My experiences told me that many books would not get read on account of poorly written, uninteresting, or even sadly contrived requisite material. At least, I know I second guessed my documents more than twice.

But the task was eventually completed, and I felt good about what I had done. A friend reminded me that I was my harshest critic (to which I only briefly objected, saying, "well, if I were a lot of the editors I had submitted to, I'd have more success right now). That let me finish up the guest blog promo in short order. I went through the same rigors of making sure everything looked fine and made sense, but I didn't hover, and once it was done, I didn't fret. I sent it. The person said it looked good, and thanked me for my timeliness. I thanked them for the opportunity to try to get my name out to that many more people.

After that, I finished the initial round of edits on the book to be (tentatively) released in February. Like the previous releases, I have some anxiety about how good the final product will be as impacted by the unknown editor that I'll be working with. I think about my wholly different experiences, the pushing, the pulling, and the end result. I can do little but hope for a good experience, I realize, and move forward. A friend reading my second book told me how much smoother it was and now I begin to understand the feeling of the demon of the first publication. If the things were published in the order that they were written, there will always be an obvious disparity as one moves along (IF one moves along) a given series. The questions, I imagine, will sound like "what happened with the first book?" to which I will only be able to honestly answer "I wasn't as good then." But, would it really be too much of a stretch for people to find out (about any of us) that we didn't used to be so good? I'll keep you posted on my answer to that.

The other day, my publisher posted a blog that had, and I quote, "eerie similarities," to her own experiences as a publisher. She wouldn't say which experiences those were, of the lengthy list of... pseudo complaints? But then, I guess pointing them out would make them sound more like actual complaints. I can't lie and say that the experiences don't sound very challenging. They sound like the problems a busy entrepreneur would have. They remind me of the pros and cons of the process of choosing one's path and having to live with the consequences. As the years go by, it seems like either I'm realizing I had fewer options myself, or that the more I write, the more I tether myself to this mysterious destiny.

Be as happy as you can be with your choices.

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