Sunday, 20 November 2011

A waiting game

You know it's Christmas when John Lewis turn a beautiful song into easy listening pseudo jazz (yes, I am looking at you, Ellie Goulding) and team it with a sentimental ad.
It must be nearly Christmas (click on link to either cry or sniff derisively)

 And  yet, despite the scorn and derision from the cynics on my Twitter feed (the romance writers love it), I can't help be charmed. Because it strikes a real chord. The theme this year is 'it is better to give than to receive' through the eyes of a small boy who is waiting for Christmas morning. And how long that wait is...

How I sympathise with that little boy as he watches the clock refuse to move, as the days drag slowly by. No, I am not waiting for Christmas day (I haven't bought a single present yet as it is NOVEMBER and Christmas is in DECEMBER; if I had my way there would be no adverts, crackers, tins of biscuits, cards etc allowed until 1 December and any house putting up their lights and tree before the 18th Dec would be fined. Christmas is so much more exciting when it comes suddenly upon you, not when it's dragged out over two months). Anyone who has submitted a book knows exactly how he feels.

When @nellbelleandme and I submitted our actually-not-bad-at-all jointly written book to agents it got returned depressingly quickly. There weren't many days to sit through before the clatter of the letterbox announced the return of the A4 brown envelope containing a painstakingly printed copy of our masterpiece and a 'no thanks'.

One of the many exciting things about submitting to Mills & Boon is their promise that every submission - every one of the thousands of unsolicited manuscripts landing on their mat (or inbox) every year will be read by an editor. This is a great opportunity. But of course the editors have a lot of work to do apart from reading our work of heartbreaking genius (their social media shows an idyllic working environment of eating cupcakes and discussing the relative hotness of Grey's Anatomy & ER docs; I suspect this is a tad misleading). They promise to get back to us within 24 weeks.

Six months. And it can be longer. The second standard R took eleven months to arrive. Eleven months of casually flicking on my email, desperately hoping every spam offer might be THE email, THE opportunity. So, of course this time, this submission, I have learnt from my experience and I am using the waiting time wisely, using it to write the next book, to keep learning, to read. Six months away is next spring, there's no point getting my hopes up until then.
So why do I get just a little jolt of excitement every time I see that envelope icon at the top of my phone screen?


Teresa Morgan said...

Firstly, I feel exactly the same about Christmas. We tend to put outside lights on a bit earlier (but in December I hasten to add) because the boys like it... and it takes a while to put them up. And then take them down lol! So we like to make it worth while!

When I was a kid, my dad was big on Christmas. He still is. And so I am too. I have ALWAYS a real tree, lots of decorations - honestly my house does look bare when I take them down in January. But they won't go in/up until around, well this year will be the weekend 15/16th of December. (About a week before Christmas eve, depending on where it falls obviously).

I can't understand those eager to put tree up etc on 1st December, then rip them down Boxing Day. There are 12 days to Christmas, and believe it or not, it's AFTER the 24th December.

To delay Christmas some more, my son's birthday is the 4th December. So I don't allow a Christmas card up until his cards have had a good week out on show!

As for the other waiting. Good luck. You just have to keep at it, revise it etc. I've yet to submit yet... but I am fearing the reality of rejections. You'll get there in the end though ;-)

Teresa Morgan said...

opps... looking at wrong work calendar. That's 2012. Weekend 17/18 December probably this year tree will go in ;-) (I usually go buy it beginning of December and it gets left outside... only because I don't want to not get a decent real tree lol!)

Rose Red said...

I like the idea of buying your tree in advance - being a late Christmas type there never is a great choice when we go to look. Maybe I'll take a tip out of your book, Teresa!

Charlotte Phillips said...

I'm with you. Nothing moves fast. I just think they are so constantly, overwhelmingly busy that there aren't enough hours in the day. The only thing to do is crack on with something else while you wait, but it is hard to put the hard-slogged submission out of your mind.

Rose Red said...

This one does feel like a slog, Charlotte, not sure why as I love the story, maybe it's because I am writing with one eye on the email. Must Focus!