Stepping into the ring with your submission

bluDresBlogI try not to be delusional.

I train hard, read well-written books and view art and photography sites of accomplished pros. These talented heavy-weights inspire me creatively and spiritually and remind me of how hard I need to work and how much I still have to learn to attain such levels.

Still, completing a novel is a heady experience. By completing I don’t mean the first draft. This novel is complete – it’s been revised, critiqued and revised until I can’t stand to look at it anymore. Then let rest, awoke and revised again until it’s as good as it can possibly be. Then abandoned, resurrected,  revised again, and finally, as a life unto itself, released into the world.

And it’s good. Not as good as some, but better than most.

Now comes the challenge of submitting it to agents and publishers. It’s like a prize-fight. Nobody remembers the loser.

I’ve done the research and it’s as good as research can be considering the credibility of the internet. The agents and publishers I’ve selected are the most likely to want to represent/publish this manuscript. I have a fight-plan, and I’m fight-ready.

I can’t help myself, I feel pumped. This one’s a contender. My prose ‘floats like a butterfly’, my plot ‘stings like a bee’. Already I’m considering if I should I dazzle a publisher with my fancy footwork or get agent in my corner to negotiate on my behalf? Will I win by TKO, split decision, or have to go the distance with a twelve-round book tour?

The bells sounds and the first round of submissions go out.

Almost immediately I begin to take the hits.

I don’t feel I connected enough with the material…

…your project is not right for my list at this time…

…just not hooked enough to want to ask for more…

sounds like a great character, but unfortunately…

…the concept just didn’t grab me…

I’m hurt, but I rally. I’m tough. I’ve trained. I know this work is good. I know it only takes one good punch to score a knock out, to move to the center of the ring, hand held high, and be announced – the Winna!

I return to my corner, patch up my query letter and start another round with a fresh batch of submissions.

This round my strategy has changed. As a quick victory eludes me so does the necessity to fight fair. I want to head-butt the fresh scrubbed, right-out-of-college agents, and rub the thumb of my glove in the sharp-eyes of the cynical business types. But they artfully stay out of range and avoid my clinches. I throw a round-house and miss, swing again and miss again. My carefully planned fight strategy is in disarray.

When I realize my mistake it’s too late.  I haven’t kept my  guard up. Delusion slips inside my defenses and lands a devastating sucker punch.

I go down. While I wait for the mandatory eight-count I’m filled with self-loathing. How could I set myself up like this? How could I, so condescending of all those others that proclaim their infinitesimal successes and silly aspirations, be so stupid as to expect my piece of crap would have a future?

I’m back on my feet but there’s not much fight left in me. Disappointment moves in and jabs me in the face. Frustration sets me up for a right cross, but before it can take me out for the count, I’m saved by the bell.

Now it’s the third round, my third batch of submissions have gone out – the ‘C’ list. I continue to be pummeled, staggered, and most frequently find myself hanging on the ropes. Depending on the responses, I might not make it to the bell. Answering the next round is unlikely.

I feel defeated, but I’ve defeated myself. I made the classic mistake and lead with expectations. It’s as stupid and fatal as leading with your chin.

Again, hope beats me up, but I just can’t stay out of the ring.

~   ~   ~

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: