Thursday, June 17, 2010

Submission Purgatory: Guest Post by Carrie Harris

Carrie Harris is a ninja--she's the one to go to in case of a zombie apocalypse. Her skills include finding the strangest videos on the internet, abusing photoshop, and writing kissing scenes. Her debut novel, BAD TASTE IN BOYS, is yummy yummy yummy (or yummy scary funny yummy, if you want to be specific), and coming out in Spring 2011 from Delacorte. Also, I adore her.

Submission Purgatory

I threw a party when I got an agent. Okay, so I’m using the term “party” loosely; I really just danced wildly around my living room to Thriller. (And OF COURSE I know all the moves. What self-respecting zombiephile doesn’t?) But that one-person dance party felt awfully good, because I’d finally done what so many writers dream of: I signed with a fabulous agent. I knew that awesomesauce book deal was right around the corner.

Yeah, in retrospect, that makes me laugh so hard.

See, what many of us don’t expect is that you pretty much go right back into the waiting game after signing with an agent. He or she sends your book out to editors, and you wait. Again. Your heart pounds double-time every time you check your email, because now you know it could ACTUALLY HAPPEN. Because someone in the industry likes your book! Apparently, you don’t suck! Go you!

Then you get an email. Someone’s interested. Your heart pounds EVEN FASTER; you dash up the stairs to dance to Thriller because now it’s a tradition and maybe it brings you good luck and good luck is a good thing because an editor likes your book enough to take it to acquisitions! In fact, you should do the Thriller dance TWICE, because then that would be twice the luck, and maybe you’d get a two book deal! WHEE!

But there’s just one problem: Acquisitions are tough. Take it from an expert; I went to acquisitions so many times I actually lost count. And I can count pretty high. I’m a statistician. Fer realz.

It’s an emotional rollercoaster, and the most important thing you can do to prepare for it is find someone else in Submission Purgatory and send them an email out of the blue that says, “Do you like me? Check Yes or No.” At the end, be sure to mention that you too are on sub, because otherwise they might call the cops.

You need people who understand what it means to be on sub. They’ll understand your Twitter-stalking tendencies (and maybe even encourage them [although I’m not speaking from experience here {yeah, I don’t believe me either}]). They’ll send you jokes on the days you’re sure that the Gods of Acquisitions have a serious vendetta against you. They’ll try to bribe the Universe on your behalf.

They’ll make Submission Purgatory kinda fun. In a weird, semi-masochistic way.

Don’t get me wrong; your other writer friends are still invaluable. But no one understands Submission Purgatory better than someone who’s been stuck in it for, say, a year. Again, not talking from experience or anything. And on the day you get that offer? They will scream for you, and maybe do the Thriller dance.

So here’s the big twist. You ready? Kiersten was my submissions sis. And now she’s all kewl and almost-debuty, and I sold my book too, and instead of writing each other daily emails that say things like, “What crap, Universe? What crap?!?” we’re talking about taking our ARCs on a playdate. Or we would be if we weren’t on different sides of the country.

The moral of this story: Get a submissions partner. It’s also helpful if you have a sekrit handshake or code names or something. Kiersten and I had a special uniform we both wore for luck. At least *I* wore *mine* faithfully. Every day. Got me lots of funny looks at the bus stop.

We have matching Submissions Snuggies! Go us!

Of course I wore mine everywhere... Jump on Carrie in the comments and make her give you a nickname. That's another of her skills I forgot to mention.

30 comments:

Larissa said...

I LOVE CARRIE HARRIS!

That is all.

Kristi Helvig said...

I love Carrie's blog--her videos are always hilarious! Congrats to both of you on selling your books...I can't wait to read them. :)

Kristan said...

Lol. Aww, this post is so cute. I wanna Snuggie you both. :P

Renae said...

I loved this post! I can totally relate since this is the current state that I am residing in. Thanks!

Claire Dawn said...

Is it bad that my first thought was,

"That pic is so fake. Kiersten isn't taller than anybody!" :S

Great post. I can't wait to be on submission. I've done a year of waiting and not knowing already, so I'm prepared. (Although you always say that when you're not in the sitch...)

Rick Daley said...

I'm in Submission Purgatory right now, and I appreciate the empathy. It's better than being in an alternate universe on LOST.

Andrea Cremer said...

Great post, Carrie. And soooooo true :)

Mireyah Wolfe said...

Those snuggies are SPARKLELRIFIC, Carrie (and Kiersten once you get back from Transylvania and will sparkly too because that's Transylvania and now you don't have a taser to help you fend off the Vampires?).

ANYWAY. I'm BEYOND excited for both of y'all's books to be coming out and I fully expect a video of Carrie doing her Thriller dance on the day BAD TASTE IN BOYS comes out. *nods* I demandsss it, preciousss. =D

Nikki said...

I can definitely relate!! And I had to laugh at the Twitter stalking (looking up at the ceiling, because I have so never done that... la la la)

Fun post :)

Anna said...

I'm another lost soul wandering through submissions purgatory, so it was SO great to read this post. Thanks!

patdwhite said...

Great post. So what is your nickname for Kiersten?

I can not imagine what it is like to be on submission after watching the emotional roller coaster Kiersten rode on with her first book that was out. Denial. Denial. SOMEONE WANTS TO SEE THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS!!! denial. denial. SOMEONE WANTS TO....... It went on and on. It was tough on us (parents) and it was not even our book. Our validity was not being challenged, just our baby girls. I was surprised she had the emotional stamina to start another book during that process. But we are glad she did because thats when Paranormalcy was born and its been pretty much a rocket ride.

Kiersten and Hot Stuff are having a great time and their trip is winding down. I have had a great time babysitting the kids. They are getting excited for their mom and dad to get home!

Keep up the writing and store up lots of self confidence to help you through the getting-an-agent-submission-purgatory.

And by the way Carrie, there is indeed a blue SNUGGIE in Kierstens room.......

Sara B. Larson said...

I'm also in submissions purgatory, checking my emails ALL the time (nothing yet) and wondering how long should I expect to wait before I think no response is a bad thing?? (I'm on my first round with my agent) I could really use some purgatory buddies. Anyone, anyone? I loved this post, thank you!! :-)

Natalie Whipple said...

Ah, submissions...you know the rest, Carrie. You are also my submissions hero.

Kerrie said...

This post was LOL funny. Thanks for making the start to my work day an awesome one. I don't have a submission buddy, but I have a writing buddy and since we both write nonfiction for magazines, we end up in query purgatory a lot but when we do get an assignment we do the Macarena. :-)

Sam said...

I love this post. :P That's really all I can say.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I love this post! I'm about to jump into submission purgatory. Soon. Tomorrow. Or next week.

Elle Strauss said...

Hey, Sara B,
I'm is sub purgatory right now, too and would love to be your buddie! My issue is no response....does it really take this long for everyone to read it? (I guess it does).

thanks for the post, Carrie!

Carrie Harris said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Mireyah, I really SHOULD do a celebratory Thriller dance. Good idea!

Kiersten's dad: I came up with this brilliant idea to nickname everyone by abbreviating their last names. So I'm The Harr. Natalie is The Whip. Stephanie is The Perk. Your daughter is either The Whit or, well, the other name. I'm not sure this really qualifies as a skill, but I'll take it.

By the way? You're awesome.

I think I've found my new calling: Submissions Purgatory Matchmaker!

Kelly Bryson said...

We have a red Carolina Gamecocks Snuggie, and I would love to wear it as a 'submissions uniform, but it is way way too hot for that here. Nice reminder that the fun doesn't end when you get an agent!

K. Marie Criddle said...

I'm there too! Thanks for the fabulous post...writing doesn't have to be a cold and lonely profession, I guess. Yay for lights at the end-ish of the tunnel! Can't wait to read your bebe.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Carrie, I LOVED your parentheses convention! I hold those all the time, but not on my blog. I'm not as bold as you are.

Thanks for this post. As somebody in the middle of the agent submission process, you've given me some insight (more like a warning) for what to expect in the future if I get that far. I mean, when. When.

Is twitter-stalking an actual offense? Not that I'm confessing anything, either.

**Note to Kiersten, you've been tagged with an award on my blog for awesome blogging.

Myrna Foster said...

So, why do snuggies remind me of Jedi robes?

Sarah Skilton said...

Matching Snugmissions outfits -- classic! I agree that it is SO helpful having people to commiserate with during the stress of submissions.

Guinevere said...

LOVE the matching snuggies!

In fact, I might buy myself a snuggie just to make the submission process more bearable.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Okay REALLY needed to hear that today. Thanks! :)

Paul Greci said...

Great post. It was just what I needed to hear since I'm on submission now. Thanks!!

Kwana said...

I love this post so much. Just sent it to my submission purgatory partner. Think she need a Snuggie.

Julie Musil said...

Lovin' the snuggie look! Even though things are still slow once you have an agent, at least you've tacked that hurdle! Good job.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Oh my goodness...sometimes I actually suspect I'm being 'Punked' or something. Hurry up and wait makes me go bonkers. I've taken to checking my email hourly.

Great post...very encouraging.

Kwana said...

I wanted to let you know I linked your post on my blog today here:
http://kwana.com/2010/06/23/obsession/

I loved it so much.