Swoon Author Katie Van Ark Publishing Confessional: It’s a Lot Like Falling in Love

People call love a roller coaster, but trying to get your novel published can be like riding the Millenium Force at Cedar Point. The ups, the downs, the twists and turns.

First there’s the exciting chug to the top. You wrote a novel. And it’s time for . . .

The Meet-Cute: You look through an editor’s or agent’s submission requirements and get excited. She loves romances? She’d love to see a figure skating/witchcraft/talking bench/insert-your-hook-here novel? Swoon!

The First Date: You get all your stuff gussied up. Query letter, synopsis, first chapter. Whatever the editor wants, you do it. You tell yourself how good everything looks. You sit by the phone knowing that this is going to be the magical time your dream comes true.

Then comes the 300-foot drop.

Rejection: Time to binge on clearance V-Day candy and Netflix. A form e-mail? What went wrong? Why couldn’t she see how perfect everything was going to be?

Repeat. Ad nauseam. (And if you share my coaster fear, you will be nauseated from the first drop.)

But . . .

Be brave. Pull your hands off your eyes. Scream if you want to, but stay on the ride. Lean into those scary curves of feedback instead of shying away. Like romantic relationships, writing a book requires self-honesty, a willingness to work through issues, and dedication. Keep writing. Keep revising. Because if you keep at it, someday you’ll get to the end of that ride. You’ll be stumbling around with your legs feeling like jelly and your head spinning because at the end is:

The Ring: The kind on the phone, that is. The call that is the writer’s equivalent of a box from Tiffany’s.

Fellow Swooners, as manuscripts head to the editorial team in March, I wish that mega-carat diamond call for all of you. But whether you get a “yes” or a “not yet,” I encourage you to hang in there. Channel that euphoria or heartbreak right back into your writing. Revise your novel or start a new one. Be the active protagonist that everyone tells you to write and don’t let a little bump in the writing road stop you. Thrills and spills are part of everyone’s epic publishing adventures and someday you, too, will find your publishing prince.

Author spotlight

Katie Van Ark

Katie Van Ark lives in Michigan with two daughters, two cats, and one very patient husband who was also her ...

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