I just submitted my young adult novel to a publisher. I think I might throw up.
A few years ago, when I was slightly stupider, I queried several publishers with my novel, then a 130,000-word behemoth. Now, thanks in large part to the awesome and adverb-hatin’ wonder-women of my critique group, it’s a slim 80,000 words. I feel like I’ve worked the thing to death, and at least for now, I’ve reached a point where I’m not sure what else I’d change about it. That’s good, maybe, right?
So I’ve decided to send it back out into the harsh, cruel world again. Baby, you’re just like your mama. Expect to stand by the wall a *lot*. Expect to fall in love several times for every publisher who so much as accidentally looks your way. Make friends with rejection. It will make you stronger. And, because underneath all my cynicism, I’m a romantic, I believe that you’ll find the real thing. Or one of your younger sibs will. I’m not gonna be too picky. And hey, you’ve lost a lot of weight, and in this shallow world, that can’t hurt.
So it begins. The agony of waiting. The self-analysis. The self-bludgeoning. Suddenly I’m struck by how little the voices in my head have changed since I was in high school. “They’re judging me. They’re going to hate me. Or worse, they won’t notice me at all. I’m going to die unpublished. Why does everybody like Stephenie Meyer better than me? Maybe I should have joined the Mormons. Does this insecurity complex make my laptop look fat??”
But, in the end, I’m a sucker for the thrill. There’s something seductive in the uncertainty, because possibility is the biggest seduction of them all. So get out there in your skinny jeans, little novel, and shake what I gave you. I gave you my best. Well, I think it was my best. I hope it was. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe…
Maybe, just maybe, I should cut myself a little slack. After all, there are other fish in this crazy sea. And I’m a prom survivor from way back.