My Least Favorite Word

Yesterday I had to face facts. My work-in-progress was done. I had written it. I had rewritten it. I had rewritten it in third person. And then I had gone over it again with a fine tooth comb. If there’s a single typo in the whole thing, it’s a miracle.

So then I had to make a decision. I’m a pretty good hand at self-publishing now. I know how to make some covers myself and I know who to call for others. I could publish this story (which I’m really excited about) and have it out there for public consumption by the end of the year, including marketing. Or I could submit.

God, how I hate that word. Submit. Submit to the inevitable. Submit to the machine. Submit to your fate.

Submit to a publisher.

I’m not saying publishers are bad. In truth, the two or three I’ve been fortunate enough to work with have been awesome, actually. It’s fantastic having a professional editor go over my book and point out its weaknesses. I thrive on deadlines. I love what an editor can wring out of me that I didn’t even know was there. Like a washcloth you thought was dry until you really put the pressure on.

Still, I haven’t submitted to a publisher in more than a year, and yesterday, as my cursor hovered over the “Submit” button, I knew I was submitting to something else. Loss of freedom. I love this story. I could do a good job putting it out on my own. I could have a real hand in designing the cover. And since it’s the first of three books, if it’s accepted, I’m submitting those other two as well.

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But I know a publisher can offer this book much more visibility than I can do on my own. Not to mention that ever elusive validation that we as writers are always looking for. I mean, sure, I love the story. But if a publisher likes it enough to put their resources behind it, well, that’s validation.

So, I submitted. To my fate, to the inevitable, to whatever the future holds. And if this publisher doesn’t like it, I’ll make a decision then about what to do with my story. Another publisher? Self-publishing? Trunk novel?