Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pitches and contests and.......waiting. Oh my.

by Sharon Lathan

Yep, now comes the hard part! You thought it was smashing your 90,000 word story into 50 words, didn't you? Ha! No, the really tough part is sitting back for the next two weeks and letting fate - or in this case Deb - decide what will happen. Oh, the agony!

Seriously, for all that I may sound flip, believe me, we feel your pain. Because each of us Casablanca authors (and everyone else) had to play the waiting game. No matter how we pitched or queried, even if we were lucky in some fashion and were miraculously 'discovered,' at some point in the process there was the wait. Waiting for the agent to decide yea or nay. Waiting for the editor to get back to us. Waiting for the contract to arrive while sure someone important would change their mind. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

And then, even after the contract is signed (and we finally believe it is real and not a wonderful dream) there is more waiting. It takes a LONG time to get a book on the shelves! I guess what I am trying to convey is that we do understand how tough these next two weeks are for each of you who compressed your creation into a handful of sentences, and then boldly stepped forward and pitched. Guts are required to put yourself out there, and we do appreciate that. Yet at the same time my point is a cautionary one. Because 2 weeks is nothing in this business!

Now some of you may be real good at waiting. Maybe this contest is just another page in the extensive book that recounts your personal quest to get published. In that case you have probably learned patience. Or perhaps patience naturally comes easy for you. Bless you! You are a huge leap ahead right off the bat if that is the case. I am a terribly impatient soul. The waiting has nearly driven me mad at times. But patience is a requisite so if you have learned it or possess it already, awesome! Publishing life shall be easier for you.

Unfortunately, the other aspect of this contest opportunity - the part that is so tragic and sad that I did not want to list it in the title - is the necessary rejection. We are thrilled to be able to offer our blog and the keen judgment of our editor. However, we also knew, (as surely most of you did as well) that the vast majority will face a rejection of sorts. *wince* Sorry about that, but hopefully the experience will benefit is some way.

None of us doubt that each of you put your heart and soul into your story. It's your baby. Each of you thinks it the best of the best; more than worthy of getting published. Fantastic! Good for you! That is the spirit! Confidence is essential. Because like waiting, rejection is part of this business as well. It is the belief in yourself, the assurance that your novel is beyond incredible, that will keep you going even after we announce the winner and it isn't you. I was confident in my novel. So much so that it stunned me when I was rejected! I'm still not sure if I was ignorant or just plain stupid to expect folks to climb over each other to sign me, but whatever the case, I did not give up. And, here I am on the cusp of seeing my debut novel on shelves. Yippee!! If it can happen for me, it can happen for you.

Thanks for joining the Casablanca Authors in our contest. Encouraging fellow authors is important to us since each of us knows how it feels to want the dream. Don't forget to check back!


  1. Hurry up and wait = publishing.

    Sad, but true.

    But HOPE is the flipside (I call HOPE and WAIT the ugly stepsisters of publishing).

    Isn't it cool to hope? And who knows, maybe there's a new Casa sister on that post!

  2. You are right, Sharon, the waiting can make you nuts, that's for sure. But holding the book in your hand definitely makes it all better!

  3. Waiting is hard (for some.) But look at it this way. If you hadn't pitched, you wouldn't be waiting.

    There were so many good pitches, I don't know how Deb is going to decide which ones to tap. But I do know this: I'm so proud of each and every one who put themselves on the line and DID IT.

  4. I can relate to the skeleton, but oh, yes, those beautiful copies of Rogue I received yesterday are certainly worth all of the waiting and worrying!

  5. Hey Sharon, I've got patience. Sure and I asked God for more just today. Okay I admit it, it was more of a demand *Cringing, sorry sir.

    Sharon, that's a good point. Waiting is always hard and not exclusive to writing or getting published. I read over all those entries, there were a lot of good ones in there. Courage and belief in yourself led you to put yourself on the line. I look at it more along the lines of nothing ventured, nothing gained. As with any query, if I get a contract great, if I don’t, dust off the knees, stick a bandage on the boo-boo and move on. I also find other things to do to keep me from obsessing. Obsessing gets you nothing except cranky and stressed.

    I do like how all of you shared your opinions and frustrations with waiting too, and the reminder that waiting doesn’t stop, nor does it get easier just because you have a contract. Thanks. :-)

    Ps. Sharon, I would really like to have a bit more flesh on my bones when I get a contract. Better photo op...

  6. Thanks for the encouraging words, Sharon, and the splash of reality. I'm not patient by nature. Yes, lots of nail-biting going on here. What to do while waiting? Polish up the manuscript and take that third step-sister, FAITH, out for a walk in the park!

  7. Hope is indeed the flip side! Thanks for accenting that Judi. I wasn't trying to be negative, but merely realistic. If we didn't have a healthy dose of hope within us, we may have quit. I know I came close! But the vision of holding that book in my hand, seeing it on a shelf, did keep me going.

    Be careful Sia - our pastor always jokes that praying for patience is tantamount to praying for calamity to befall! LOL!

  8. Bite your tongue sister. How about I just ask Him for help with the fruitages, Looks like Judi and Pat have already hauled out a few...