So starts the lyrics for Paperback Writer.
Now that the chapters and synopses and author biometrics and bull (who can really write well about themselves – aren’t CV’s the worst kind of work?) has been submitted to 6 or so publishers we play the waiting game. Well a waiting game for the remaining. Macmillan got back to me in an unheard of 10 days. And just to be clear they got back to me to say thanks but no thanks. And you’re never really happy. If it takes 5 months for them to read the 5000 words of Physics for Poets I sent, just for them to tell you they didn’t like it, it might seem cruel. You’re left thinking, why don’t they read the crap first and get back to you sooner? I don’t mind hanging on half a year if, when you finally do make contact it’s with embarrassingly gushy noises. But when they take less than 2 weeks, it’s like a slap in the face. Or maybe a half-a-night stand. Of course I know this is how it works, it just seems weird when your’e in the middle of it.
So I have all this leisure time to ruminate on how underdone the submission letters were. And read endless blogs on writing that are less than useless. Useless might be something like: “write every day, even if it’s for five minutes.” Or maybe “make your characters something resembling human and give them a problem they can believably solve.” Whatever you do, don’t create a character that looks and sounds like a sentient posturing AI set to solve a thousand year mystery in one night in 4 continents, only to find out Jesus of Nazareth married a prostitute. That wouldn’t work. No, worse than useless is something like this: “Read. Read. Read. Especially in the genre you hope to write in.” Just knowing that the person that dropped this bomb is published is less than inspiring. What’s the collective adverb for disheartening?
On a brighter note I have the first 17 chapters (don’t worry they’re blog sized, not chapter sized) on WordPress and quite happy with the results. http://physicsforpoets.wordpress.com