Persistence and Progress, Dusty and Etta
The new year arrived and still my manuscript isn’t a book. A moment of despair (OK more than a moment) when I realized this is exactly the same situation I was in last new year.
There was a brief mid-year frenzy of activity when I finally made contact with a respected literary editor who did not want to represent me but instead gave me many good ideas on how to pursue publication on my own, followed by my respectable burst of query letters, writing samples, bios, and keeping a careful log of whom I contacted and when.
The rest of the year spent like Dusty Springfield; meanwhile, one by one, drawing big black lines through each name when the rejection impersonal note/email arrived.
By December, only one was left, the nice folks at Atticus, for whom I still hold out hope, but they’re taking for-f——–ever to give me an answer.
And another, McSweeney’s, who had not replied except to say they’d received my manuscript – back in August. I’d tried sending follow-up emails, but they all bounced back. Their web site said they’d changed their submission process, but if you’d already submitted using the now-defunct process, your work would still be read. (These are the folks who say on their web site that the time it takes them to respond is “forever.”) Just be patient, they said. Wearing thin.
I heard from another writer that their editorship had changed and tried to find out name of the new editor, tried to get this writer I’d met to help me (since he claimed to know them), but he never answered my emails).
So in desperation I sent a message to their generic, customer service email, and the next day got a reply from a real, not rumored, associate editor. Just as I’d feared, my submission had been lost amid all the changes there (which were true). Send it directly to me, she said, and I will put it in the front of our reading queue.
Does this constitute progress? I’m saying yes, and if I’m right, my tune may change from “Wishin’ and Hopin'” to that passionately voiced song from the great talent we lost just yesterday: “At Last.”