Differences Between Querying and Submissions

You may or may not know by now that Air Pirates is out there on submission. Meaning honest to God editors are reading it. Submitting to editors this way is very similar to querying, but there are some differences I've noticed.

Disclaimer: This is based on my limited submissions experience so far. Your mileage may vary.

DIFFERENCE #1: Responses. I get them.
For better or worse, "no response means no" seems to be more and more common among agents. But on submissions, so far I get answers. Even better, I get semi-personalized answers (or, to be more accurate, my agent gets them and disseminates them to me). They may not tell me exactly what's wrong with the story (see SIMILARITY #2), but they give me a lot more information than form rejections.

DIFFERENCE #2: My agent does all the work.
I'm sure you all remember the scads of data I kept on my querying journey. On submissions? I keep track of nothing. I don't have to write the pitch, keep track of where I sent it and when, or follow up when responses are slow. And I like it that way.

Though I admit, I kinda miss my chart.

DIFFERENCE #3: Thinking long term.
In the query trenches, I had one focus: get an agent. But on submission, I find myself thinking more long term. For example, before I found Tricia, I had a handful of agents say they'd be interested in seeing future queries from me. That's neat, but now that I have an agent, I don't need to remember that information.*

But when an editor says something like that, it matters even if I get a book deal on Air Pirates. Why? Because this is my career now (potentially). Air Pirates will run its course someday, and even now, I need to be thinking about what comes next and where it might go.

* Though you can be sure that if, in some twisted alternate universe, Tricia and I part ways, I will be scouring my Gmail archives in search of those agents.

So there are some differences, but whether you're querying agents or submitting to editors, some things never change.

SIMILARITY #1: The waiting.
Oh, God, the waiting.

SIMILARITY #2: The content of the responses.
Writing is subjective. One agent thought revising to YA was a mistake, another said it was the right way to go. And you know what? They're both right. Turns out editors have the same sorts of opinions.

SIMILARITY #3: My job.
I still write. Through all the waiting and all the responses and all the excitement and the let downs: I. Still. Write.


Matthew MacNish said...

Most authors I know say being on sub is harder than querying. It's nice to get another perspective on it.

Sarah said...

I did think being on sub was harder than querying, but that was only the first time around. The second time, I wasn't on sub for long at all, so it was relatively painless. And now, I'm about to go on sub again, and I have no idea how it's going to go. Hopefully more like the second than the first. But no matter what, the way I will cope: write write write write ...

I hope you get some great news very soon, Adam! Hang in there!

Michael G-G said...

You pretty much channeled how I feel. And I love differences #1 and #2.

Taryn said...

THIS. I've been on sub for exactly one week today (cake, anyone?), and it's worse and better than querying at the same time. My favorite part is looking at my bookshelf and seeing an imprint on the spine of a book and saying OMG THEY HAVE MY MS.

Nancy Thompson said...

Seems this business is nothing but waiting. I did a whole post on it during the A to Z. I never had to wait during submission. I think all the waiting I did during querying more than made up for it. Now I'm waiting for the release.

(Hey, see how I used your linking advice for this comment? I use it all the time, thank you very much!)

Authoress said...

Similarity #1 has just about sucked the life out of me. Similarity #3 has proved very difficult during the past month.

Let's meet somewhere in the middle of our worlds and commiserate over decaffeinated coffee. :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Yup to Similarity#2. Not surprising, and yet ... surprising. Oh well. At least you are doing the most important part: writing (and thinking long term! Also cool).

Jay Noel said...

Hope you get more positive feedback on Air Pirates. The story sounds right up my alley. I'd buy it!

Adam Heine said...

One week? Congratulations, Taryn! And yes, cake!

Michael Horvath said...

Unfortunately we are the prisoners of other people's opinions when it comes to many things in our lives. This doesn't mean they are right or wrong, or as you said, "They're both right" (or both could be wrong). The thing about our creations is that they are ours and that makes them good no matter what others say.

I have seen so many awesome musicians and read so many awesome writers. Sometimes it's just luck to be discovered. I wish you luck Adam.

K M Kelly said...

Excellent post - and I agree about the contradicory responses! One editor loves the setting and the enxt one doesn't 'get' it at all!