The Panic Switch

Feedback is a double-edged sword. One side can make us feel absolutely totally awesome and completely invincible. The other…well, you’ve seen the other side. It’s not always pretty.

And when that feedback is from an editor who’s passing on your manuscript, that edge is even sharper. Because while it’s fabulous you’re getting actual useable feedback from an honest-to-god editor, it’s still a no, and you (most times) can’t resubmit later.

Carina Press recently hosted a #carinapitch event over on Twitter, and I came out of it with requests for two different manuscripts. Yay, excitement, cupcakes all around. I sent them off and settled in to wait – part of the event was you’d get feedback, no matter the result, and it would come in half the time as a normal submission. So instead of waiting up to 16 weeks for a response, you’d get it in about six or so.

Well, I got my feedback earlier this week.

I was only sort of disappointed when both were turned down. One was a story I love (really, though, I love all my stories) but it was an earlier one that, despite revisions, probably would have turned out better if I’d written it now. The notes on that story weren’t long, and what I was able to take from it is information that will help me tear that story apart and reuse the characters somewhere else.

The feedback on the second story sent me into a flurry of hand-wringing and cookie consuming. See, the editor liked it. From the sounds of it, she liked it quite a bit. Except the few things she didn’t like struck true enough that I started worrying. That particular story was submitted to another publisher several weeks ago – I’m about halfway through the waiting period – and now I’m wondering if it’ll get passed over because the editor I sent it to agrees.

My first reaction was to pull it. Honestly, I’m still thinking of pulling it. Maybe I’m too emotionally attached, but the thought of having to deal with the rejection has me reaching for the cookies.

Times like this it’s hard to remember publishing is subjective. Really fucking subjective. And while I might agree with the points I received via the #carinapitch feedback, that’s not necessarily indicative of what another editor might think. She could agree and pass; she could love it. She could think it needs some work but likes it enough she wants to see what changes I’d be willing to make.

I know if it gets passed over it’s not the end of the world. There are other publishers (that are likely not a great fit for the story, but that’s my personal opinion) and there’s self-publishing. It will see the light of day, one way or another.

I just have to keep my twitchy fingers off the panic switch.

2 thoughts on “The Panic Switch

  1. Breathe.
    And again.
    Your work will make its way out into the world, and people will love it. And I’m not just saying that. Your stuff’s too good for any other outcome.

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