If you’ve been on the submission’s train long enough, you’ve probably developed the bridesmaid syndrome. You know what I mean – – the close, but not yet. If I were a Regency writer, I’d compare it to being the debutante who received tons of callers but went home without a marriage proposal at the end of the Season. There are days I feel like Jane in 27 Dresses — standing next to the altar, but never the main attraction.
I’ve queried three novels so far. All three of them have garnered requests for fulls from agents. Two of them have won contests. In other words, I know I’m doing something right. Then the rejection comes. Most of the rejections involve the line “not for NY”, but I’ve had a couple of recent ones pointing out my flaws. Sometimes you need someone to point out that you need to invest in some Spanx to get rid of the saddlebags if you wear tight dresses. The good news from all these rejections is that they usually end with an invite to send something else, which I understand is a “good thing”. But I’m still left alone at the reception in bad dress sipping on a watermelon margarita.
Sometimes it’s easy to give up on Mr. Perfect and hook up with one of the groomsmen just to get it out of your system. It’s always a gamble. I’ve seen frustrated writers self-publish (through LuLu, for example), which I would compare hooking up with a lazy guy that makes you do all the work in the relationship, but sometimes you come out on top. Others sign up with vanity publishers (like Publish America or DellArte — STAY AWAY!), which is like getting involved with a mooch who takes your money and gives you nothing. Then there are others that publish with an e-pub or small press, which I would compare to going after the shy, quiet type. You won’t have the big bells and whistles in that relationship (say compared to a NY pub), but it can very satisfying, and you might just find a diamond hidden under the shy exterior.
My 2 most recent rejections were tempered by 2 requests, so I’m still out there on the agent hunt, but I’m definitely thinking e-pubs may be the way to go for now, at least with what I have out there. Of course, I’d first need to strike up a conversation with my editor to see if she’d be interested in my novels.
What are you thoughts about the “bridesmaid” situation? Have you been there? What keeps you motivated to keep sending queries out? Any success stories you’d like to share?