As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been picking up the pace of my submissions, and also broadening the variety of publishers I’ve been submitting to. What I didn’t realize when I committed to this strategy is how much this would test my patience.
Let me explain. Usually, I write for Jewish magazines. If I submit a book, it’s usually a picture book involving Jewish subject matter. The world of Jewish publishers is very small, and the editors receive fewer submissions than those who handle secular material. The response time in the Jewish publishing world is much faster than in the secular publishing world. Moreover, some of the editors have gotten to know me over the years because they’ve employed me, read me online, or just like my style. I suspect that my subs don’t always go in the slush pile, at least in certain offices, B”H & bli ayin hara. Yes, I have to wait for a response from editors, but the wait is relatively short.
Re-entering the realm of secular publishing is a wake-up call to the realities of that world. The new pieces I want to submit to secular magazines, websites, and book publishers need to have some of the stylistic elements that are unique to Jewish publishing removed. Then my stories need to be polished once again. I want them perfect, absolutely perfect before submitting because I know I’m most likely headed right for a slush pile. There will be gobs of very talented competition and the editor will have no idea who I am and have never seen my previous work or this blog. If I rush in preparing my manuscript, it’ll just get chucked after the first round of review.
The result: getting a short story ready for submitting is taking me longer than I’m used to. When I finally get the pieces “shipped,” I have to wait and wait and wait…because the editor has a HUGE slush pile and is just methodically going through all our faceless, unsolicited subs. This can take not days or weeks, but months or years. Ugh.
The problem really isn’t theirs, it’s mine, because part of being a professional author is being patient. Unfortunately, patience is a virtue, which means it doesn’t occur naturally for
me some of us. It has to be acquired, and only by waiting will I acquire it.
By the way, the hardest thing about waiting, in my book, is not to get your expectations up. So this is what I’m trying to do–submit, and then forget I did it. Yes, there is a paper trail. Yes, I’ve recorded when things go out, and where. But I’m trying not to dwell on my
absurd fantasies hopes of publication and just keep cranking out the subs.