Monday, September 9, 2013

The Waiting Game

NYMB On Being a Mom

Several weeks ago, the publishers of the Not Your Mother's Book... series sent out a call that more stories were needed for their book about being a mom. The deadline for submissions had passed but they were not pleased with the number of stories that fit their specifications for the book. They needed more to select from. 

I admire a publisher who will extend a deadline so that they can have a certain quality story in the book from cover to cover. It's been a long time since I was raising kids but I started pondering on those earlier years to see if I had anything that might be turned into a piece of creative nonfiction to submit. Sure enough, I thought about a time in my son's life when I thought he needed to learn about how babies are created. You know what I mean---sex! It was a rather amusing story and definitely shed light on being a mom.

So, I wrote the story, let it simmer a few days, then rewrote and polished it up. I sent it to the publisher and began the inevitable waiting game. But in less than a month I received word that my story and 15 others that were sent in on that late call had made the finals. It does mean more waiting to see if the story makes that final leap into the book or not, but even so, this is far shorter a period of waiting than is usually the case.

It's that seemingly endless waiting that drives most writers crazy. They've worked hard on the story and they want to know if it is going to be published or returned with a So sorry but your story does not work for us letter or even never hearing one way or the other. I much prefer receiving that rejection letter than to be left hanging--not knowing. For one thing, the writer has no idea when the publisher has acquired the set number of stories to use. It could be 2 months, 6 months or close to a year. I'd rather know that my story didn't make it so that I can send it somewhere else. This has always been a gripe of mine. Editors will always say that they just don't have time to send out the rejections. 

I know that time is often our enemy, but it seems to me that they could have a form letter that needs only the address put in before sending. Would that be so hard? For some, it apparently is because they continue the practice of notifying only those writers whose story they plan to use.

You who read this blog regularly know that patience is one of my keywords for writers. Use patience when an extended period of waiting to hear about the precious jewel you submitted is part of your life. I must admit that I have learned to be more patient than I was in the early years of my writing. It was that or go cuckoo.

One other thing I learned early-on was to send the story, then move on to the next story you want to write. Work on it, send it in and start the process all over again. You can't sit and wait to hear about that first one. Keep the ferris wheel of submissions moving at all times. On those occasions when you receive an acceptance, it will be a wonderful surprise. So be a writer but know that you must play the waiting game.

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