Saturday, July 9, 2011

50 Days to Fame and Fortune

Not likely, but one can dream. Today marks the 50 day deadline from when my short story submission to Black Library will officially fall into the rejection abyss. Let me explain. Back on Father’s Day I made my very first submission to a publisher – Black Library. They have a policy that you will only hear from them if they like your submission. They don’t send rejection letters.

On the surface this may seem like a good thing, especially for aspiring writers like myself. Not getting a rejection letter means not feeling the pain of getting your hard work and dreams slapped back in your face with a note that reads, “This is terrible. You suck. Don’t ever submit anything to us ever again. P.S. Please consider a new line of work. Thank you. Hugs and Kisses, Publisher X.” Now, I would imagine that rejection letters are a little more professional and much less offensive than that, but to a writer, especially a newbie, this is what it would likely feel like regardless of the words the publisher chose to use.

Photo by Lordoftheukes
To have your writing rejected by a publisher is akin to being sucker punched in the gut - by your mom. Yeah, I know – that's rough. Imagine this. Mother’s Day is coming up, so you want to do something special for the woman who bore you into this world. For the woman who kissed your boo boo’s, and packed your lunch for school every day, so you decide to give her something special. Something made with your own two little hands. She will love it.

You start on your little project right away, with unparalleled eagerness and excitement. You know exactly what she wants. It’s all that she’s talked about for ages, wanting a new Thing-a-ma-jig. You have to work on it secretly in your room late at night and on the weekends, because you don’t want her to find out about it before the big reveal. You make sure every bolt is turned tightly, and every board is straight. You even take the time to find out what her favorite colors are, and make sure to include them. You’ve asked her about past gifts that she has liked, and include elements of them in your work too. Time is running out, so you push hard, working extra late every night to make sure everything is just right. When you’ve got something finished, you invite your friends over to look at it and tell you what they think. With their advice, you make a few alterations and additions. Now it is perfect.

Then the big day comes – Mother’s Day. You’re ready. You’ve done your research. You’ve done your due diligence. You’ve done the work. You’ve placed your heart and soul into this project, and you’re convinced she is going to love it. She may even shed a tear or two. You hand it to her with a warm smile and say, “Happy Mother’s Day mom.” She takes it, looks at it for a moment. Then, WHAMMO! She tosses at your feet and slugs you right in your soft belly. That’s gonna to leave a mark. That’s what I imagine it would feel like.

In this case, I won’t have to experience that feeling, not initially. If Black Library likes my submission, I will hear from them within 8 weeks of the end of the deadline for submissions. That was back on June 30th. So starting today, I have a 50 day window in which I must wait. If after the 50 days I haven’t heard from them, then I get my delayed sucker punch. I asked you, which is worse?

But now is not the time to sit back and worry about something that is totally out of my hands. Now is the time to get to work. Get to work on the next submission; on the next project for mom.

Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

“Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler

What projects are you working on? Have you made your fist submission yet? Are you a published author? If so, what was it like to receive your first rejection letter? I want to hear from you!

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