Friday, April 24, 2009

The First "Dip"

So roughly 12 hours after my submission frenzy, I already have my first "dip." Now I'm going to define dip as two things:

1) the first screaming drop of the aforementioned roller coaster
2) the first dip into a pool after a long winter

Rejection ain't that hard. I have been trained by experience and by other writers to expect it. So as they letters come back "not for our list at this time," I think of them as a first dip in a pool, a first contact, parties that I've missed, moments when a connection didn't quite happen.

A long list of inspiring stories of "right place, right time," come to mind and I remember that each contact is a potential opportunity for the future.

Newtonian physics tell me that potential will eventually become kinetic. When, I'm not sure, but the idea that Isaac Newton is shining down on me gives me some faith. So bring it! Here's to the first dip!

Hitting "Send" is like the first hill on a roller coaster

Finally, I've done it.
Today I hit "send" six times. Six.
Six small strikes of a key on a keyboard.
Six huge lurches in my gut.

It's not the absolute first time I've submitted, but it's been while, and I've forgotten what a mini-production it is. It's like a tiny publishing cycle all by itself.
Write letter. Proof letter.
Write synopsis. Proof synopsis.
Write bio. Proof bio.
lather. rinse. repeat, until hair falls out.

And still. STILL I found errors. There was the Horror of the Missing Hyphen. Only to be followed by the Accidental Centering of the Last Line of Text. There was the Last Minute Discovery of An Agent's Name Needing Mid-Name Capitalization (think McIntosh, or DeLeandro). And all the time I spent on spacing paragraphs in Word so that titles had their own lines and page breaks (like great Byronesque poetry) had real meaning, was lost. Lost to the vagaries of email. Font choices stripped of all seriphs. Line breaks controlled by distant screens in distant states. It is now only the words themselves that can have impact. But isn't that the sign of a good writer? That the words have impact whether typeset for a hard-cover book, or scrawled on a bar napkin in a lightning-bolt-moment of inspiration.

In the end only two things got me to send those query letters.
1) another deadline for another project
2) realizing that sitting in my home office, the Ed McMahon of publishing probably woudln't be driving up in the Victory Van to write me my winning check.

Fly query letters! Be free! And then come back with good news or I'll hunt you down and burn you. Or maybe that's not the right spirit exactly...