Cue the rejections. ;)
Why would I say that? Because, let's be honest, rejection happens more often than not in the writing world. What's "hot" and what people like is incredibly subjective and *nobody* can be faulted for that.
I am certainly not one of those psycho authors who thinks:
A. My work is totally amazing and
B. It's so genius, it will change the literary world, or
C. You're an idiot/you have no taste if you don't like it.
In fact, the idea that anybody could lash out at an agent or editor for rejecting the work is incredibly disheartening to the rest of us who approach the submission process rationally. It's just as bad as people who get pissy with reviewers who dared give their book a bad or mediocre review! (I highly recommend Novel Publicity's latest post, reminding people about how reviewers are giving their valuable personal time when they respond to a request to read our books.)
Any rejections I receive are going to be met with a brief, "Thank you very much for your time and consideration. Best wishes to you and all of your clients. Happy Holidays, Wendy."
Yes, it is an emotionally-distressing process (you bet I'm watching my email for insta-rejections!)...
...but I believe in keeping a level head and remembering good manners. My goodness, these folks receive hundreds of submissions a week! If they took a moment to peruse my query and those first sample pages, then I sure as hell appreciate that. After all, maybe *their* dream author is sitting there just after my email. If they aren't interested in what I write, they are not under any obligation to waste more time on me than absolutely necessary, and I respect that.
So while I am diving into this process of "starting at the top" (I do love, love, love my small publishers - they have been so good to me, and I will be sticking with them for future projects), I am keeping it all in perspective.
I'm reminded of "How I Got Into College" - in the application process, some students focused on the mantra of "Expect the worst, hope for the best."
That is certainly applicable to writing and publishing. Furthermore, as a Pagan, I have a very spiritual view that what you put out into the universe comes back to you. So I'm trying to find a middle ground between "I suck; they'll laugh me out of the agency!" and "It's fabulous and snarky and hilarious, and *somebody* out there is going to fall in love with it."
I guess "Visualize requests for partials and fulls" with the underlying thought of "brace for rejection" might do the trick. Or, rather like spellwork, put it out into the universe and then just let go of it.
Naturally I am writing away quite furiously. "Project Muffin Man" (the true title of which I hope to reveal soon) has a sequel, "Project Lemon Cake". The third book is coming together in my mind. Meanwhile, I have two forthcoming releases from my beloved small press friends (The Pain Maiden, which is another contemporary fantasy with a Pagan main character, and Heart & Fire, the first book in a Steampunk fantasy trilogy).
Sooo... yes, keeping busy.
Actually, I have been a veritable writing machine since my son went to his dad in August. It fills the time I would normally spend with him, and I certainly had plenty of projects to give my time and energy to! My sweet baby boy (I can still call him "Baby", even though he's about to turn 9 in less than a month, right?) is coming home to me in January. I will have him for 8 months. If I can have at least two other novels "ready to go" during that time, then I can relax and enjoy motherhood.
And the query dance.
Best of luck to all of you who are in the same boat as me. Stay positive, stay upbeat, and try not to agent/publisher stalk. ;)
Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan