I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I am a submission virgin.
Wait…that doesn’t sound quite right. Sounds…naughty.
I haven’t ever submitted my work. There, that’s better. I haven’t ever sent out my writing. Not exactly. Well. I guess I sort of have. But that explanation comes later.
What it comes down to is that I haven’t ever sent out something I’ve written to query a publisher or agent.
I’ve thought about it. This year I even thought seriously about it.
But I still haven’t.
Why not? Fear, mostly. I have a fragile ego and not much faith in my writing. I have a deep-seeded desire to someday have something of mine published, but for now I’d rather sit on my work and wonder if I’m good enough or not than risk finding out for sure.
And sometimes I wonder if I’m not even as afraid of actually succeeding as I am failing.
I’m getting there. Learning how to do it. Gaining confidence and doing some market research. I’m toying with the idea of submission right now as I watch my fellow Confabulators submitting their work and getting published. It’s motivating but also intimidating. My writing group might be outgrowing me.
So I not only have the desire to see my name on the cover of a book, but I also want to keep up with my writing family. I don’t want to be left behind.
Where does this fear of rejection come from, if I’ve never submitted, you might ask. Well, this is where I explain the “not exactly” part. I have two different experiences that rate similarly to querying.
First, I applied for graduate school. I sent application materials, including a writing sample, to eight different Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing programs. Eight. Three straight out of undergraduate college, and five more just last year.
I didn’t get accepted into a single one.
I’ve recovered from that rejection, for the most part, but I’m still a little gun-shy.
Although, again, I’m slowly gaining back my confidence. Because my other “not exactly” actually netted me a minor success.
I have participated in a writing contest held at a yearly local science fiction and fantasy convention. The first year I submitted, I liked my story but apparently nobody else did. This past year, as I was writing my story, I decided it wasn’t good enough to turn it in. When I was finished, I did anyway. What the hell, right? I’d written the thing so I figured I might as well. I didn’t expect to win.
Funny thing about that, though, is that I did win. Well, it was a three-way- tie win, but I am counting it as a win none the less. I even have the certificate that says so.
So I’ve flirted with submission. And between this minor success, the encouragement of my fellow writers, and my dream of being published that just won’t die, I plan on beginning the submission process soon. It’s time to go all the way.
Wish me luck!