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.