Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Concentration crisis, Bradley Cooper, and waiting for that rejection email...

Have you seen that Bradley Cooper ad for Haagen Dazs? The one where some rather beautiful (of course!) woman picks him up at a party purely because he's got his hands on a tub of that aforementioned ice cream, and subsequently seduces him just so's she can nick it from him! As if! For crying out loud, if I should ever be faced with Bradley Cooper and a tub of Haagen Dazs (but preferably a more exciting flavour than vanilla, please...) then I'm grabbing both of them, thank you. That is one combination I am not going to turn down. Mind you, as sexy as that ad is (to me, anyway) somebody's already pointed out that would it not have been even sexier if we'd had a nice image of Mr. Cooper seductively eating the ice-cream? Rather than the woman? Hmm? Would that not have worked? After all, it's probably women who buy more of the stuff. You could have fuelled a lot more fantasies with that one, ad guys!

Bradley Cooper in Haagen Dazs ad. Lovely...
Personally, I'd like to make a parody version of the ad, using some good old British northern humour - Peter Kay and a tub of Morrisons soft scoop. It could work... and the budget would be cheaper...

Anyway, Bradley and his new TV ad are just one distraction I'm coping with at the minute. I've got a lot more to deal with, believe me, but the major one - one that has, quite frankly, been distracting me since April, is something I haven't actually mentioned/talked about/made a big deal of until now. Actually, it isn't a big deal, it's quite a long way from that, but I might have let it build up into a bigger deal than it should have been, and now I'm trying to turn that around. But it's something that I've let affect me and my writing for a good couple of months now - because it was something I wanted with all of my heart, and yet again it looks as though failure is looming.

Back at the end of March I sent Striker off to a publisher who was asking for new submissions, which could include any self-published work. And this next bit was very important because, they were asking for completed manuscripts of any length and of any genre. As most of you might already be aware, Striker isn't exactly a short book, and considering that most submission guidelines ask for books with a maximum word count of around 120,000 (Striker is just over 190,000 - told you it was long...) there haven't been that many opportunities to send it anywhere that would even consider it. 

Now, I'd sort of made a promise to myself to quit sending manuscripts off to publishers, for a number of reasons, but back then I'd just self-published Striker, I was getting some great feedback, and I was (still am) extremely proud of what I consider to be the best book I've written to date. I felt optimistic, which is quite unusual for a pessimist like me. So I sent it off. And I began the wait. 

I'm still waiting. Although the optimism has since been replaced with the more familiar pessimism, because it's been almost 3 months now. And that's the magic number, isn't it? The time span that usually signifies failure. The cut-off point that tells you you haven't been successful this time around. The point when you need to suck it up, put it to the back of your mind, and get on with things. However, this particular publisher has actually stated that, this time, they will be letting everyone who submitted know whether they've been successful or unsuccessful, which is quite unusual and something which goes above beyond the call of duty, really. Usually it's safe to assume that, once you hit the 3 month anniversary of your submission, you haven't hit the mark because, usually, they don't bother to contact you if you're not what they're looking for. But this publisher has stated that they'll be reading all submissions, and that's got to take time, hasn't it? And we should be grateful that there's a publisher out there willing to do that. 

But, is it actually a good thing? The fact they've said they'll let you know either way? Or does it just prolong the agony? Am I just waiting for that rejection email to drop into my inbox? Well, that's my assumption. But all sorts of things are running round my head, to be honest. Because I sent it off so long ago, I can't help thinking that they must have read it by now - although, to be fair, 496 pages isn't a book you can finish in a couple of days. But I sent it off 3 months ago. So, I'm assuming they have read it, and that they have made a decision, but my theory is (paranoid as ever!!) that they're concentrating on those books they want to acquire first - which would make sense, wouldn't it? - before finally sending off a batch of rejection emails to those who've been unlucky. That's what I think. But then, when I'm feeling particularly paranoid, I panic that they never actually received my manuscript at all, before telling myself not to be so stupid because I got a confirmation email, so they must have received it. Mustn't they?

See? I fluctuate between rampant pessimism and fleeting, brief twinges of hope that they might just be taking their time with things. But when you read about authors being signed to this publisher just days after they submitted, and here's me 3 months on and no further forward, well, it kind of throws reality right back in your face. 

I guess I never realised how much I wanted something, that's all. Oh, I know we indie authors claim to be happy with our lot, happy to be going it alone, but, honestly, come on - who wouldn't want a publisher to acknowledge that our work is good enough for them to offer us a book deal? Honestly. I'll sit here and hold my hands up and say of course it's what I want. No matter how much I bang on about being an indie author. All I've ever wanted to do is write, and even though I can already say my dream has come true - I've written seven books, and all have sold fairly well, making me extremely proud of myself. But I think I will always, always want that little bit more. That recognition, that knowledge that professionals actually liked what I've written. But if it doesn't come? Well, I'll get right back on that horse and continue on my indie journey. If that's the road I have to take then I'll take it, and I'll push on and write what I love to write. 

Submitted - but waiting for rejection???
However, I do feel like I'm in some kind of limbo - self-enforced, of course. Until I actually see that rejection email sitting there, then I can't really settle, although I'm trying to knuckle down and forget about the traditional publishing dream - for now, anyway. Striker isn't a bad book, and it may seem like I'm blowing my own trumpet by saying that, but if I don't have confidence in my own work, who will? It could just be that it isn't what this particular publisher is looking for. And I'm not sure it is, judging by the books they've acquired so far. It could be too long, it may not be marketable enough, or the story just might not have grabbed them; it could be any number of reasons why it's more than likely going to be rejected. But it's still going to hurt when I do finally see those words that tell me, once again, I've been unsuccessful. And I don't think it matters how much you prepare yourself for failure, it's still going to mean I spend a day feeling down, a day where my confidence will feel slightly battered and my self-belief knocked sideways. But I'll get over it. I'm not the only one who's going through this because, for every author who gets the good news, there are a hell of a lot more getting the bad. It's all part of this roller coaster journey we choose to put ourselves on, and in the grand scheme of things there are a lot more important things to be worried about. The fence in the back garden desperately needs sorting, for starters... But when you put your heart and soul into something, when you want something so bad you can almost touch it, only to have it pulled away from your grasp, it just stings a bit, that's all. 

Is it just an ego boost we're looking for? That nod from a traditional publisher? Maybe. Can't really deny that that would be something I'd like. Show me an author who can stand there and honestly say they wouldn't appreciate that? Okay - there might be some, but don't most of us, and it doesn't matter what job we do, don't we all like to have our work acknowledged/appreciated from time to time? It makes you feel good, it gives you confidence.

Anyway, I'm rapidly sinking into the realms of self-pity now, but, like I said before, I've kept this submission quiet up until now, but I guess I've only just realised how much I needed to get everything I was feeling off my chest. It's all been quite cathartic, actually. 

So, knowing that this publisher will, hopefully - at some point - contact me to tell me the outcome of my submission, I guess all I can do now is continue to look on the black side, prepare myself for the worst, and get on with what I want to do with the rest of my life. Write. Because, whether this publisher likes my book or not, the bulk of my dream has already come true. Anything else is just one nice fat cherry on the cake.

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