The submission process: how to stay sane – Julie Shackman

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By Julie Shackman

You’ve polished your novel. You’ve sent it off, with feelings of excitement and apprehension fluttering about inside you. Will the agents/publishers like it? Is it good enough? Have I written a book people will want to read?

This has to be one of the most anxious and lengthy waits for any writer.

If you are anything like me, you have a tendency to keep checking your in-box every five minutes “just in case.” Patience is not one of my strong points!

In the “old days”, writers would listen out for the dreaded thud of the mail through their letterbox.The sight of your Stamped Addressed Envelope being returned to you, could only mean one thing – it was another “No thanks.”

So how do you get through the submission period?

Well, I would suggest you start work on your next book. For me, it seemed to be the only way to stay even remotely sane (!) and that is saying something.


I tried to adopt the attitude that as Rock My World was out there, now was the time to concentrate my efforts on Book 2.

I was given this advice on several different occasions by other writers and decided to do it. I knew I couldn’t keep spending hours glaring at my in-box.

I did still think about “RMW” almost all the time, but having Book 2 to focus on, definitely helped.

“Nobody likes a one trick pony” was said to me a few times. “If you can crack on with your second book, it will illustrate to publishers and agents you are committed to your writing.”

I also write verses and captions for greetings card companies, which kept me occupied too. Should you have another writing interest, whether it is poetry or freelance articles, keep persevering with that as well.

If you don’t, perhaps this is an additional area of writing you could look into?

For me, it felt like I was almost constantly writing and that was a help.

Reading other author’s books is also an excellent way to inject enthusiasm back into your work, during the submission process.

If you ever feel a bit dejected (which we all do at times) pick up a novel and start reading – it helped me to re-connect and remember why I wanted to write in the first place.

Take a breather whenever you can. I would take myself off for a lovely walk, to re-charge my batteries and to think about Book 2.

It is very obvious the submission process is not an easy time for any writer. We all experience it. But please remember that all authors generally sympathise. It just seems to be a necessary evil we must all go through.

If you can read, make future writing plans and work on your next book, it might just make the process a little bit easier to cope with.

I wish you all the luck in the world.

If you want it badly enough, it will happen.

I got a publishing deal – you can too!

Julie Shackman trained as a journalist but writing romance has always been a dream of hers. Rock My World is her first contemporary romance novel. She lives in Scotland with her family.

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