Once the proposal is mailed…

I researched and wrote my book proposal during the warm summer months at a table under the pine trees… blue skies, earth-scented breeze, the occasional car/truck ambling down the unpaved road as the driver waved amiably because in Idaho everyone waves at everyone… I wrote. And rewrote. And re-read and revised. I read the agent’s web site in detail, bought and read every book-proposal-preparing book they suggested, bought and read many books pertaining to bookselling so I could add a detailed marketing plan to my wondrous proposal… I worked harder  than I’d ever worked at any writing project in my life, including writing the book itself! I sent it to my eagle-eyed friend to proofread/edit and she made great suggestions and I included all of them. I went through the same process for the cover letter. No document in living memory ever went through so many versions as that cover letter. I chose the clear-cover presentation folder, ever-so-carefully hole-punched all the pages, and inserted them carefully into said folder. I remembered the letter-sized SASE. I drove my book proposal to the post office and placed it in a most-excellent large envelope and… mailed it. That was two weeks ago. It seems like two years.

And in those two weeks, I’ve been trying to get my mind off the ceiling and coax it into focusing on something else. Writers often talk about being afraid to send off proposals, the hardball hit to the stomach when a rejection letter arrives, the endless waiting to hear back. But finding other mental employment in that interim? Geez. I have wrested my heart away from the window and guided my feet away from unnecessary trips to the mail box, and have started polishing a script for a play I’d like to do next year. But it was hard to switch gears!

Finishing a book and sending the proposal are the two most anticlimactic things on God’s earth. They take such commitment and emotional energy, and they both end in… waiting. I realize I want a RESULT! Results are long in coming, and when they arrive, they might not be the ones I want. This is one of those times when “enjoy the journey” truly applies, because after the journey of writing, there is a long empty interim before the destination of publication comes into view. And you know what? I DID enjoy the journey! I’m proud of myself for having completed it (thus far) and I am proud of you – all of you – for doing so as well.

Evidently, being a writer takes more than writing. It takes courage.

4 comments

  1. I have never sent a book to a potential publisher but I have sent short stories to magazines and also entered a book competition (which I can’t do again because I now have four self-published books out with Amazon) so I kinda know what you are going through. After a lot of careful thought I decided not to go down the route of trying to get an agent interested in me but sometimes I wish I had as there would be someone to fight in my corner. I wish you luck; I do hope your book will be accepted for publication and also that the wait will not be too long.

    Like you, I love the journey; I love writing, am bereft when I finish a book and I am delighted when someone tells me they have enjoyed a book that I’ve written. I will never get rich with my books, will never be well-known, probably, but the journey is indeed very enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I could reference here any one of a number of comments you left for me on my own blog, haha. I still have so much editing to do on my own that it keeps me busy, but I agree, this wait is excruciating. Fortunately since it’s part of a series I have book 2 to keep me company (along with 3 and the finale).

    It doesn’t help the wait, though. I’m ready for the next part. To see how well the book does. Writing is definitely an exercise in delayed gratification as well as finding courage. It’s hard to not listen to the inner demons telling you to turn away while you are waiting.

    I think the fact that we love the process so much can sometimes be a bit detrimental. I can’t count the number of times that I simply told myself “Stop with the angst. Forget publishing. Just write for yourself. Who cares if anyone sees it.” Unlike most activities writing can be gratifying all on its own. We get our sense of accomplishment and thrill of excitement through the process itself and the end result matters little. Watching my sister paint and sculpt I realize that she works towards the end. Yes the process is fun but she still wants the goal of showing it off. Writing is one of the few things that can be so self contained. Art, sports, even music doesn’t have that same solitude. So it’s easy for us to just hide in our corners and not have to put ourselves out there. It’s easier for us to give up – for the courage to fail.

    Still, I truly long for the day someone will finish my book. The reader is ever present in my mind. (Particularly when I write with tricks and misdirections, almost like a mystery writer.) It’s no fun writing a plot twist when there’s no one to tell you that “I so didn’t see it coming”.

    I wish you the best of luck. We’re both stuck in the same spot. Waiting for someone to give us a chance. Just… waiting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You incredibly kind person, you! To take all that time to commiserate on the waiting factor. So! I shall share with you – before I share with anyone else – that I am waiting no longer: I got my first rejection letter.

      I’m going to rant freely on my blog so everyone can enjoy the tantrum – why else would we throw one? – and feel superior (which is a delicious feeling for any normal mortal) because they are well past that first letter, lying like a hit man in one’s mailbox, innocent and stamped, with one’s own writing on it to one’s own address, and one says, Oh darn. Actually one says other things but nothing one would put in print.

      The agent was/is actually a well-recommended one, with a very helpful site, and I will post their contact info for anyone wanting to access them or submit something to them.

      I was given the name of three agents, and what I will do next is explore the web site of the second agent and make sure that my book proposal will give him what he wants – and I will resubmit.

      You said some things in your understanding post to me, things that made me think of the relationship between the writer and the readers… and they will be food for thought in my next post, as well. Of course writers want readers! Just as readers want writers. But do readers doubt that they are readers if there aren’t any writers? Then why do writers have that nag of doubt that they are writers if they don’t have readers? Isn’t it a circle?

      But whatever it is, I know that you are a lovely lovely writer with stories for miles, and those stories deserve the life only you can breathe into them. Onward! And I’m right behind you.

      Like

      1. Awww *hugs* You were there for me for my first rejection so know that I am here for you. Shed your tears, have a bowl of ice cream. Rant, rave, and scream vial obscenities while resisting the urge to throw your favorite book across the room (stop, wait! it’s probably a collector’s edition) because how dare they have success where you have not – yet.

        My prayers go out with you as you prepare to send to the second one and I hope this is received with more success this time.

        I sent my query out to four more agents last night… as two of them have crept past the 1month mark with nothing hard back. *sigh* You know, in many ways I would prefer a rejection. Because with the ones that don’t respond you still hope…

        Liked by 1 person

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