Whilst happily plodding along on my current WIP 'The Last Goodbye' at the back end of March, I noticed that Harlequin/Mills & Boon were running a Romance Fast-track submission - as in, send over your query, synopsis and first chapter by 23rd April and they guaranteed to read it and respond by the 18th May - and decided to tweak my WIP and give it a whirl.
Not the ideal timing, what with moving house - and the fact that I didn't even know exactly how my story ended so I had to work that out before I could even think about writing the synopsis - and having no internet at home was a real nuisance. I was having to bluetooth my revised documents to my phone and then use my phone to email my two main critique partners, but with their help I managed to pull a synopsis together and drag myself to a local coffee house and get my submission emailed over to Harlequin on 20th April.
It was far from perfect but I was pleased to just get something sent off, knowing I'd have regretted it had I let the excuses override my desire.
So, then I just had to wait... and wait... and wait.
I wasn't particularly nervous or anxious when I sent it off, but as the 18th May drew closer, I started getting butterflies every time my phone jingled to tell me that I had new mail. And then it really was the email I was waiting for... and I got the response that I was expecting.
You will already know the outcome, just from the title of this post, so I was only a teeny bit disappointed. I'd have been more surprised to get a request for a partial. The main thing for me was to find the courage to have a go, and get that first rejection under my belt. I'm sure it will be the first of many!
Whilst all this was going on, I did very little writing and not just because I was up to my ears with the unpacking after our house move. If Harlequin had have actually shown an interest in my work, it would have required some fairly hefty revising in a couple of major scenes to take it down to the more 'sweet' romance heat level. I didn't want to rewrite my WIP to suit M&B and only then have to change it all back if it was a no-go.
So, where does that leave me now?
In truth, I'm quite happy to be able to take my time and get my manuscript exactly the way I want it - and actually FINISH IT - before I send off to any more publishers. I don't get a great deal of writing time and it would have been
difficult to complete this WIP in a short timescale and up to the standard I
would be happy to submit to M&B.
I was originally intending to self-publish before deciding to take a punt and submit to Entangled. I'm in a position now that I can still submit to Entangled when I'm ready, as well as the likes of Breathless Press, Lyrical and Musa etc.
At least now I can hand on heart say that I have been through the motions of submitting, riding the rollercoaster, and getting a response. I'm no worse off than I was at the start of this process and my goals are just the same... finish my manuscript, revise and submit.
There's still a lot of work to do and I will continue to plod along at my own rate... I will have plenty of time to write once both of my children are at school full-time. Right now, I want to make the most of these early years and not regret the time I could/should have spent with them instead.
Have you been through the submission process too? What response did you get for your first ever query? And what about that first rejection, did you bounce back and just get on with it or did you struggle at first?
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