Since I was just talking about anxiety induced by the submissions process, read this article about the anxiety induced by the race to become published. It’s overstated in a couple places (there really are more publishable submissions than available publication slots in my belief; also, being demanding and/or going over your editor’s head has every likelihood of back-firing, which is not to say that one shouldn’t make their needs known, but there’s never a reason to have a diva moment). But the core of it is expressing a valuable lesson which I feel can also be applied to agent-hunting.
My favorite bits:
It has less to do with a worthy apprenticeship than a race to a finish line that leaves people disheartened, depressed and/or sick with envy, none of which fosters creativity. Because the game is all about getting published now, then whoever can bestow this state is the savior. Not a partner.
What I’m suggesting is that if there is desperation in the process, it should be about the work, not the contract. The passion should focus on the words, not on this contest or that, not on polishing the first three chapters for five years.
Last night, a friend who read my entry about the submission process said that it sounded a lot like getting a job in a tough market. People who send in shoddy resumes don’t make it past the front door. People who don’t have the skillset, don’t get the position. People who act like jerks don’t tend to keep the position. And so forth. And, yes, when the cash reserves are getting low and unemployment is running out, people get desperate. But bringing that desperation into the interview never gains them anything.
Also, this recent entry by suricattus which goes back to my disclaimer this morning about appreciating resources. To which I add, don’t burn bridges. The professional publishing world is a pretty small place.