Surviving Submissions

Top 10 Survival Tools Once the Envelope Has Been Sealed

by Joanne Rock and Catherine Mann

Surviving submissions?! Isn’t that some kind of oxymoron, considering the painful process? You finally mail out the manuscript and then you obsess— the angst seems hard-wired into the writer brain. But recently we penned an article on query letters for the Romance Writer’s Report and in the wake of our brainstorming about submissions, we stumbled on some ideas for helping authors persevere through the long wait. So go ahead, slap on that stamp and start compiling your survival kit of these ten essentials to help you carry on…

  1. A year’s supply of emery boards to smooth nails you’ve bitten to the quick.
  2. Junk food to placate the impatient muse. (Hint: Consider buying stock in the Hershey Co. It may well be cheaper.)
  3. Bottle of Motrin, Advil, or other headache medicine of your choice for use after you trip and fall racing to the telephone every time it rings.
  4. Box of tissues to sop up the tears shed thinking about all the things you wished you’d changed in your submission.
  5. Eighteen month calendar to mark off the days (for the optimist.) Two-year calendar suggested.
  6. Reams of paper so you have a few blank pages to fill to keep you occupied. You’ll either need an option book or— gulp— a follow-up submission if your first baby is rejected.
  7. Bottle of booze (or sparkling cider) of choice on hand for the big day of celebration or the no-holds-barred pity party.
  8. An RWA chapter to keep you updated with relevant market news. Example—your target editor left to: have a baby, get married, edit literary fiction, book a trip to the Tibetan Mountains after reading a really horrendous manuscript, etc.
  9. A bathroom door with a sturdy lock so you can barricade yourself inside a quiet haven if an editor should call.
  10. An empty frame beside your computer to one day hold your book cover!

Critique partners Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock enjoy analyzing every facet of the romance business as part of their continuing effort to write off astronomical long distance phone bills.

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