Positive Influence to Send Out That Manuscript
My motto is always “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” I keep the same attitude when it comes to sending out query letters. Don’t send out a query letter unless you’re prepared for the possibility of a negative response. Just don’t assume that you’re going to get one. There’s a fine line between being realistic and pessimistic.
Also, I wouldn’t suggest contacting any publisher, editor, or agent until you have at least one solid novel. Only once you have revised a few times, got advice from readers, authors and experts alike, and written a good hook and summary should you consider contacting an agent to try to publish your novel. It’s a lot of work, but just keep with it and don’t give up! Even if you find out your ‘brilliant’ plot has simply died, just drop it and work on something else. Just keep with it, and you’ll get there.
Once you do get there, however, the hard work is far from over. Waiting for a response on your query letter and/or manuscript can be one of the most nerve-racking experiences ever. It’s like waiting for the final word after a job interview. While you try to keep your hopes up, thinking that they have to accept you, you also want to prepare for rejection. That’s where being realistic comes in. Accept that either the positive or the negative can happen, but even negative can easily become positive. How, you ask?
Someone I met at the Spin Jam last night suggested a method to me. After an audition, he would do something nice for himself. Buy a new CD, take himself out for dinner, etc. That way, even if he didn’t get the part he auditioned for, he still got something nice out of it. He suggested I do something like that for submitting query letters, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Though it might get a little expensive if you’re sending out a lot of letters, so be creative and find something calming, relaxing, yet fun and enjoyable that you can do without spending so much. Maybe cook a nice dinner at home, spend a couple hours just watching TV or playing a game, something to reward yourself for working hard and taking a leap of faith and submitting a query letter.
What if you get a response, but it’s less than what you hoped for? Well you can turn that into something positive, too. Whatever the big mean editor told you, try to use that as advice to either make that novel better, or a future novel. Even criticism can be helpful if you know how to use it correctly. But don’t forget that maybe your novel just didn’t appeal to that editor. You might consider trying out a different publishing company just to see if you get a similar response. Editors have tastes, too, so if your novel just doesn’t suit their fancy, they might reject it based off that.
Don’t ignore positive responses, either. If the editor says s/he really liked one aspect of your novel, build on that and make it even better. Or use a similar tactic in a future novel. As Randy says, the best way to get published is to master your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses until they are an acceptable level. Don’t try to master what you’re not good at, but simply improve until it’s passable and focus most of your attention to mastering what you are naturally good at.
In short: Reward yourself for submitting a query letter to take your mind off the anxiety. Use positive responses to improve what you excel it, and negative responses to improve your weaknesses to an acceptable level. Just don’t give up and keep working, you’ll get there!
Stay Happy, Remain Beautiful