Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And it begins...

Sometimes "no" isn't a bad thing.

For example, if one went out on submission in February of 2009 and one had yet to hear any kind of response from those eight editors, then one's agent sent a reminder to those eight editors and discovered that one of the eight no longer even worked for that publishing house, and then one's agent submitted to another six or seven editors in addition to the seven who had had the manuscript for a year...

Well, getting a response—even a no—would be a welcome thing. It may comfort one with the knowledge that one isn't completely delusional about having a manuscript on submission. Perhaps said manuscript wasn't being used as kitty litter or whatever the digital equivalent of kitty litter is, as one had begun to suspect.

It's true, I don't like to wait. But after a year? I'm getting rather good at it. You know what else I'm good at? Handling a pass. One from a publishing house that I'm not really fussed about working with? That's not even a pass, it's more a mutual agreement that we wouldn't be a good fit. (Also, learning to recognize what's a real issue and what's a philosophical difference.)

I'm not going to lie. I went through a phase where I thought I would take any offer, any editor. But that's desperation talking, and it's so not sexy. The idea of having any editor doesn't do it for me. I want the right editor. I want to work with someone whom I can trust not to have ridiculous arguments with me because we have completely incompatible visions of what a book should be.

It's a compliment to know this editor couldn't stop reading the manuscript and enjoyed the narrator and the dynamic between the two main characters. When someone will tell you that, even if they won't say say yes, it means you have something good. Even if they don't like another aspect. Even if they don't offer. You still wrote something they enjoyed. Maybe they didn't adore it, but they liked it—and the right editor will love it.

Had this editor made an offer pending a request for revisions to alter what they didn't like? I would have told them no. (Not that it really matters, as they didn't say they'd look at the manuscript again if I made changes.)

I know who I am. I know what I write. It's different and it's hard to pigeonhole, and that's not going to change. I'm looking for someone who wants to make my manuscript better, not make it into something that it isn't. If that means waiting, then I wait.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

I love this, Chandra....you have just expressed all that I have been feeling lately. When you first begin in publishing, you just want someone to pub you, someone to rep you, someone to tell you your book is worth reading. But the longer you're in it, the more you realize how important it is to have the *right* editor behind you. That's the one who loves your writing and the stories you want to tell.

I have a book on submission that has been out before and was *thisclose* to an offer. Sure it was a bummer but maybe that meant it wasn't the right house for me at that time. There are lots and lots of editors, lots and lots of publishers, and they change (as you just found out) all the time. What an editor couldn't take on at one house, she might take on at another one. For us, it's only a matter of persistence.

Just like dating, right? ;)