Monday, June 25, 2007

The Waiting Game -- Eve

I’ve said it before…trying to get published is like dating to find a spouse. In the beginning, we tend to over-think everything. We hang on every single word our potential mate says, and then we go home and obsessively psychoanalyze each word to figure out what he really means.

There’s a great scene in a Sex and the City episode where Carrie replays a phone message from Mr. Big over and over, then replays it for Miranda so they can discuss what each word meant. On the machine he says something like, “Hi, it’s me. Call me back.” And then Carrie says, “He wants to get back together, right? That’s what it means, right??”

Okay, that is so me and my pre-published writing buddies when we wait to hear back from editors. When we hear nothing, we wonder if he/she is just playing coy while secretly gushing to the acquisitions team about our brilliance. When we get a response, we analyze it to death, hoping every exchange leads us closer to happily ever after. Looking back at old rejection letters now is pretty funny, because in my “puppy cancer” days I would read, “Thank you for sending me your lively picture book, If You Give a Dogg a Doobie. Unfortunately, we don’t feel that this has strong retail potential, and therefore is not right for our list at this time. Good luck in finding your manuscript a home.”

And I’d go, OMG! She thanked me! She called it lively. She liked it, right? No, she loved it. They can’t take it because of “retail potential.” It’s a very specialized project, and they don’t have the money for marketing right now. But they will in the future, right? She said “home.” That means it’s good enough to find a home, right? They love me!

Editorial Anonymous recently posted a great series on learning Editor Speak that had me snorting coffee out my nose and rolling on the floor. Y’all should check it out. Of course, now that I’m older and more experienced (jaded) about waiting, dating and rejection, I realize that like SNL’s Mr. Subliminal (remember that skit with Kevin Nealon?) what the editor was really saying was:

“Unfortunately, this waste of paper has cost me three minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. No one will think this is amusing except for you and your stoner friends. It’s not right for us now, or ever. And it will never be right for any house because it’s not funny, or kid friendly, or well written. Good luck in this business. You’re gonna need it, ‘cause you suck right now. Don’t quit your day job because the only home this ms will ever know is the bottom of your junk drawer.”

As I sit here playing the Waiting Game, jumping every time the phone rings and hitting the e-mail “refresh” button, I’ve regressed back to my insecure little teen self in the dating world, trying desperately to find the right guy who will make all my dreams come true. There are moments when I think, I’m a moron. I’ll never sell a book. And the next moment I’ll think I’m the next Walter Dean Myers. In the beginning, waiting (like dating) is kind of fun and exciting. Then it gets old and depressing. I’m looking so forward to the next phase when I find the “one” who helps me find my happily ever after. I know you’re out there, man. Call me!

- Eve


Rilla said...

Hey Eve,
Oh so familiar. I have my cat hit the refresh button for me, every two minutes ;) The phone is not an option yet, but the mailbox sure is...I HATE no-mail sundays!

Dot said...

Hahahahahaha! I love this post! So. Painfully. True.

Although I am trying womanfully to move past this co-dependent, neurotic behavior.

sneaks out to go refresh her email accounts

Colorado Writer said...

Oh Eve. (sigh) I'm there with you, sister! Thanks for posting this. It's good to know that the waiting is never over even if you have an agent.

Thankfully, I am past the "puppy cancer" and onto the jumping at the phone.

(gotta check my email)

Disco Mermaids said...

Alright, let's get this started...

If you give a dogg a doobie, he's gonna want some nachos.

- Jay

Dot said...

When he's finished the nachos, he'll still be hungry.

So he'll ask you to go buy him some M and M's.

heidi said...

LOL!! That was one of the funniest posts I've read in awhile (and I read A LOT of them!!) You're hilarious, Eve and SO RIGHT. I just thought that this morning!! It's so like dating--the WHOLE thing is. LJ is too--all of it. Hang in there--I bet you'll get the whole package out of this dating mess: handsome husband who loves to cook and makes a million dollars a year and only has eyes for you.


heidi said...

PS. I'd totally buy the stoner dog pb--you should send it to edit anon so she will post it and talk about how horrific you were!!

Colorado Writer said...

If you give a dog some M&M's, you'll have to get new carpet.

And if you get new carpet, you'll have to get rid of the dog.

If he lives through the puking.

True Story.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm, M&M's. What were we talking about? Lamy

Emily Jiang said...

Hi Eve! I loved your post! I have totally used the same line "finding an editor/agent is like dating" to my non-writer friends. I feel your pain. Hang in there!

cynjay said...

Hmmm. I always likened finding an agent to dating and marriage. Now that we're looking for an editor does that mean it's like looking for a mistress? Threesome?

I'll have to think about this a bit more while I go and check my email.

LindaBudz said...

This makes me nervous. I hit the jackpot when I married my husband. Is it possible to do that twice in one lifetime?

Something else for me to obsess about ....

heidi said...

lindabudz: i hear it can happen twice in a lifetime, but it's only a rumor, so don't quote me. =9

Becky Levine said...

Boy, Eve--I'm bad enough about checking email NOW, what am I going to do when I'm waiting for THAT message?

I can't imagine (yet) how hard it is, but just keep being proud of yourself for even getting to this point. It's huge!


Lisa Graff said...

This is hilarious, Eve. And so, so true. (And I LOVE that episode of Sex and the City!)

Disco Mermaids said...

It's funny, I didn't mean for this post to be funny, because it's just true. But I guess the truth is funny sometimes.

Just got my first rejection on this re-write of the book, and I've spent countless hours analyzing every word of it. Though the editor had nothing good to say, I'm still scouring the letter for any hint that deep down she still might really be attracted to me. I mean, my book.

Then I sit in front of the mirror like Stuart Smalley and say, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" just so I can get through the day.

I hate getting my heart broken. And in this biz we gotta be tough, because there's a lot of it. I swear, it's adolescence all over again! Gotta go drown my sorrows in twinkies and pink snowballs. Right, CW?


Colorado Writer said...

It's a crazy roller coaster ride...the ups and downs...requests for fulls, waiting and form to day, it gets old.

But you've got the guts to keep doing it! Dont cha? I will if you will!

Hostess Snowballs for everyone!

"YES is one of my favorite answers."
Ashleigh Brilliant

heidi said...

sorry you didn't mean it to be funny, it was so well-written and charming and real: that's why it was funny. sorry about the rejection. remember eve: it only takes one yes!!!

Rilla said...

We're there with you, Eve. We've all been there like a gazillion times, if you add up our combined rejections it would sink a ship, and it never gets any easier...but with all these people crying with ya...hell...makes for a great swimming pool...
and given you're a swim better than most and if you get enough twinkies and pink snowballs into ya...floating will be a breeze! Good luck with the next editor. Who the hell wants to work with an editor who doesn't have any good things to say about your writing little they know...;)

heidi said...

alright, rilla!! you rock.

Anonymous said...

As a reminder, editors read blogs. Occasionaly they leave anonymous comments too. ;)

And maybe I have an unusual sense of humor, but I assumed the doobie smoking dog was meant to be funny.

Disco Mermaids said...

Let me explain. Yes, the "If You Give a Dogg a Doobie" picture book was meant to be funny. I didn't really send that out. (Would'a been kind of funny if I did, though!)

Yes, I suppose parts of my post were intended to be funny, but the initial gist was serious. I do feel like a teenager waiting for a boy to call me. And the waiting isn't fun. But we all go through it. And I couldn't be happier with my career choice. So, I'm officially done complaining. Starting NOW!


Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm so late in posting Eve, I just figured out how, I think, to leave a message. I don't think it's the "waiting" that makes this so hard, but all the weird games our hopeful/wounded hearts and heads play with us.

They'll love it. They'll hate it. They'll love me. They'll hate me. No, I'm sure they'll sort of like it. Slightly hate it. Probably reject it. Love it so much they'll buy it for scillions of dollars. Well, a few thousand would be okay. And I'll settle for a handwritten rejection.

Patience is a virtue. If that's true, we're virtued up to the ears. Hang in there sweetie!
And I'll make like a bat and hang in there too.

Fingers crossed, eyes, toes, nose and anything else crossable.

Cynthia Bates