dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

The next stage

on February 11, 2014

I have sent out the synopsis and the samples, with what I hope is a decent covering letter. And now it’s deep breath time and contain my soul in patience because I do understand editors are busy and it takes time to get round to all the stuff in the in-tray.

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But what a morass of feelings! First off, nervous trembling! Now, I know editors and publishers are nice people. After all, I used to be one myself! But this is my baby I’m sending off here and I really do not want to hear that it’s ugly or unacceptable! I’ve lavished years on it. Yes, I know – we all have and we can’t all be published. There just isn’t enough paper in the world. And let’s face it, some of our work doesn’t come up to scratch, or is wrong for the publisher we’ve sent it to, or we’ve missed the tide… There can be lots of reasons for a ‘No thank you’. Not least among them the simple fact that we may need to do more work on it.

And this is where writers – especially novice writers – come to a crunch: because you can either be a prima donna or published.

I remember when the proofs of my first book arrived. I was on holiday and very (oh how embarrassing!) proud about the new book. With a shameful ostentation, I carried the proofs up to my room after breakfast and sat myself down to look at them.

I shall not name any names but suffice it to say that at that some stage, someone had worked on my text and inserted some words that I – how to put it? – would not have used. There must be a writerly version of road rage because that’s what I experienced. My blood boiled. My vision fogged.

And then my coldly rational, pragmatic side asked quietly ‘So what are you going to do about it? You can ring up the publisher and complain – but these amendments come from his/her pen. You know them well enough to know they won’t budge. You have a choice: fuss and fume and not be published this time, maybe even get a reputation for being “difficult”… or choose to be professional. Being edited is, as you well know, part of the process. Get used to it.’

I peeled myself off the ceiling and got used to it. 

 

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