Saturday, December 18, 2010

Yes—You. Submit.

Posted by Jonene Ficklin

This week, I called a good friend of mine who is a wonderful writer. She answered the phone, screaming bloody murder.

Several thoughts shot through my mind:

Her house is on fire.
Her house is flooding.
Someone is dying.

Instead, she told me she’d just barely received her first full-manuscript request from a great literary agent.

It was time to celebrate! I asked her to e-mail over the request, because this is writer’s gold. She did. I read and reread it, smiling, imagining my friend doing the same.

Then I read the first ten pages she submitted. I had been through them several times before as her book morphed from beginning to now. She’s been working very hard not only on the story, but on refining her craft. This piece was polished, catchy, funny, hinting at romance and many dark adventures to come. I am a bit biased because I know her, but this was impressive. It was dang good! The best part is I’ve read the rest of the book. She’s ready in every way to submit.

What is most impressive is that she actually did. And someone else recognized her talent.

This summer, at several writer’s conferences and workshops, the panels of agents, editors and publishers all said the same thing. At each convention, they request anywhere from twenty to forty manuscripts. Usually they get two to three.

Why is that? Are we scared that someone will see through us and find out we’re actually frauds pretending to be writers? Are we in the middle of our fourteenth revision and realizing that our story needs at least five or ten more before it’s ready? Are we sure that that particular agent, editor, or publisher will turn us down?

I guess there comes a time when we should just submit. We must.

Yes, the work should be polished. No, we shouldn’t send in our first draft. But if so many of us aren’t submitting, that’s not a good thing. The world needs to meet the literary geniuses hiding behind word processors and mounds of old manuscripts.

So, to my friend, thanks for being brave! You’ve given me a much needed boost. And yes, my ear drums are fine now. And I’m hoping to return the honor.


  1. THANK YOU SO MUCH for that post. I really needed to hear that.

    One reason I don't submit as much as I should - writing a query letter and synopsis is just so much fun compared to drafting the new book that's beating its wings to get out of my head.

    I did send in a teensy tiny story to a magazine yesterday. Someone pat me on the back.

  2. LOVE the post. :) Thanks for reminding us all to to be brave. Jonene you rock and are such a great friend to share your excitement and support for your friend.

    Rebecca, woot,woot for you! I'm sending pats galore.

  3. *pats Rebecca on the back*

    Thank you for this, Jonene! And I'm shocked that so many people don't send in their manuscripts! Huh? After having spent a fall querying and sending in MS's, I want to promise everyone who's thinking about taking the plung - it gets easier as you go along!! Yes, make sure you're prepared. Do everything you can to get to that point. But don't hesitate to pull the trigger. (no one will die, really!) :)

  4. Rebecca, GOOD for you!! I'm patting your back right now.

    Leisha, you are very welcome! And that friend is VERY deserving, so it's great fun to share the spine-tingling news.

    Susan, you beat the odds, which means you are going somewhere! Thanks for being an inspiration!

  5. I am a new follower! YEAY!!! Hope you will stop by my blog and follow back!

    Emma Michaels

  6. I understand where your friend is coming from. It's been my experience that acheived goals never turn out as I imagined they would.
    As a writer of fiction I'd like nothing more than to have my work validated through publication. However, the thing I fail to recognize is with publication comes deadlines, commitments to speak, book signings etc., etc. In fact, I can't imagine no longer having the time to sit in front of the window and write. However, that is exactly what would happen if and when I ever became published. So why do I want this? Because somewhere deep inside I don't ever expect to get it.(:

  7. Emma, welcome and I enjoyed your blog. Red Riding Hood looks good!

    Andrea, I agree. I think we're all a little afraid of success, but yet, it would sure be nice! : D

  8. Book signings? Speaking appointments? Oh, I can't wait! Bring it on! Even deadlines... those are just valid excuses to put off the laundry.

    And even if I dreaded public speaking and deadlines, it would all be worth it if more people could share the story that's in my head.

  9. You sound like such a good friend. Reading for others is a gift of more than time. Thank you for stopping by and following. :)

  10. Elaine, thanks! But I'm the lucky one to have friends who love writing - so fun! Love your blog, by the way.


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