Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Publishing Process, or Why You're Always Afraid of Someone

I found Absolute Write when I was a 15 year old n00b. I had a few novels under my belt, most, but actually not all, of which were completely awful. I also had a lot of big ideas about publishing being some kind of corporate scheme, and agents were all part of some big capitalist machine of iron and steel and crushed dreams. To be honest, I didn't know a damn thing about agents except that I didn't want one and I was going to kick my little feet and cross my arms and tell everyone in the world I didn't want them.

So then I stumbled across Absolute Write, which is honestly the mecca of publishing information for a lost soul such as myself. And I went in there with my big ideas and my even bigger mouth and I got gently, but efficiently, slapped down to real life.

And these writers, who were bigger and older and more experienced and a hell of a lot wiser than I was? They scared the shit out of me. They'd been around the block, and they had shit like writing spaces and writing processes and writing schedules and writing pants or whatever, and all of it was stuff I'd never thought about and definitely never considered having, because I wasn't a real writer. I was the crazy little kid who wanted to get published before she was 18.

But luckily I was a crazy kid who listened, because I started querying, and goddamn was that the scariest thing ever. Forget being scared of writers, now there were agents. And agents were just the scariest fucking thing in the world, tweeting at each other and drinking coffee and taking phone calls and throwing around words like "slush" and "acquisitions" and "apartment." They were frickin adults, for God's sake. And here I was sending them emails and expecting them to waste their time on me.

I know people go through a lot of feeling when they get rejections, but does anyone else just feel embarassed? I think I'm over it now--now, if anyone rejects me, they're clearly heartless robots who don't understand my passion and prowess over the quill of amazing or whatever--but it used to be that every time someone sent me a rejection, I'd just want to email back I'M SORRY WHAT WAS I THINKING SO SORRY I MADE YOU READ THAT. Because I had it in my head that for some reason I wasn't worthy of agents' time. That they were up there on their Mount Olympus and I was down here in high school.

But I got an agent.

And then all of a sudden agents were my buddies and I could tweet at them and ha ha ha aren't we witty and oh my God, editors, oh my God.

And now it's holy shit, book reviewers.

This goddamn thing never ends, and it's awesome.

19 comments:

Kate Hart said...

Writing pants! THAT'S what I'm missing!

(clarification: I am wearing pants. Just not special writing pants.)

Good post Hannah.

sharpierae said...

FEAR MA' WRITING PANTS!

hannah said...

you know I do.

Nadine said...

AW has been awesome for me. I usually only spend time in one forum (purgatory) but I love the people I have met there and the knowledge I have gained.

But I still freak out when I have to query or as of recent, status query.

Casey McCormick said...

Great post, Hannah!

Emilia Joyce Plater said...

Great thoughts. I remember being SO afraid to even post in AW... it was ridiculous. Writing and getting published is never-ending like this... I wonder if top dog authors fear somebody? Assassins?

hannah said...

You have to ALWAYS fear the assassins. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

hahaha don't fear book reviewers! but yeah, agents freak me out. I do know I need one though and hopefully I'll find one who thinks I'm worth their time, but we'll see. :)

-lauren

inkspatters said...

"I'd just want to email back I'M SORRY WHAT WAS I THINKING SO SORRY I MADE YOU READ THAT."

Yes. This is EXACTLY what I want to do every time I get a rejection. I'm glad it's not just me who gets embarassed over rejections.

And you have no need to fear the book reviewers. From what I've seen, they love you :D

hannah said...

no, guys, book reviewers are SCARY AS SHIT. you guys give me the willies.

Beth G. said...

OH MY GOD. You are so right. I was a lost soul before I found the awesome and truly TERRIFYING AbsoluteWrite. I too have been converted. I share all your feelings re: AGENTS ARE ADULTS OMG WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO DO TO A LITTLE 15-YEAR-OLD WHO THINKS SHE WANTS TO BE PUBLISHED?! And rejection is extremely embarrassing.

And although I want to say, "No! Don't be afraid of book reviewers!" I can't imagine I'd be any different. Sooooo.

Kristin said...

For the record, I have yet to see a bad review about BREAK. Not. A. Damn. One.

I pray for your writing prowess and ability to avoid the bad review assassins.

Also, this was just hysterical and awesome. :D

hannah said...

I have been really lucky with reviews. Most of the bad comments are like, "the ending was weak," and I'm "yeaaaaah. my b."

Kara said...

ULTIMATE SORRY I MADE YOU READ THAT MOMENT:

My BFF is a nanny to the children of an agent who rejected me. She is her neighbor. FML.

hannah said...

oh nooooooooo

hannah said...

but yeah, I met David Levithan a few weeks ago. He is my complete and total idol, and we're talking about how my book came out and who my agent is and when INVINCIBLE SUMMER is coming out, and I'm trying so hard never to mention INVINCIBLE SUMMER's title so we don't have to have that moment of "um I rejected that shit" "um yeah you did."

Sumayyah said...

I'm pretty sure that's going to be me when I start to query. It makes me feel queasy. :/

Megan said...

AW is pretty amazing. And submitting books to publishers...pretty scary stuff!

Gary Couzens said...

I've been a book reviewer. Write a good book and you have nothing to fear from me.