…it’s out there. Three years after I started this novel, my first query package has left my desk and zipped through cyberspace to the first agent’s inbox. Knowing that it’s there right now, waiting to be opened, makes me feel–quite honestly–violently ill.
Have you ever seen the movie Office Space? There’s a part where an employee who’d been embezzling funds from his company puts a letter admitting his guilt under his boss’ door. The letter slips from his hands and slides far into the room. He stands, enjoying a brief instant of satisfaction, and then dives back down in a panic, stretching his fingers under the door crack in a vain attempt to retrieve it. That’s how I felt when I hit the ‘Send’ button. Like I’d have done anything at that moment to pull it back. It’s not that I didn’t do my best, or feel that it wasn’t ready, it was just a knee-jerk reaction to finally stepping up and letting someone who could possibly alter my future have a look at it. It’s pretty scary, and I admire those of you who’ve already done it.
I’m having mini-daymares about the possible mistakes I overlooked. Earlier, when I went to make a minor correction and tried to write, ‘its,’ I ended up writing, ‘tits.’ Now I’m sitting here imagining an entire document peppered with the word ‘tits’ in random places. Very professional.
Since this is a firm that takes only online submissions placed in the body of an e-mail, I had to grapple with the loss of formatting, as well. I nagged a tech friend, I e-mailed him drafts saved in HTML, RTF, DOC and TXT. None would save my indents or my line spacing. At least TXT got rid of the strange line breaks. Then again, who knows what has happened to the submission on their end? Green text? A mishmash of lines without any breaks at all? Gibberish symbols in the place of em-dashes? I really cringe to think about what happened the minute my Mac tried to play nice with a PC. Then again, if online submissions are all they’ll accept, then they must have seen pretty much everything go wrong with formatting before, anyway.
As soon as I banish this bout of queasiness, I think I’ll go ahead and write up the full plot outlines of my next two books. It’ll take my mind off of things, and prepare me for my future — which now hangs in the hands of someone other than myself (Did you hear that? It was my stomach rumbling again). Plus, the final Harry Potter will be out next month — a welcome distraction for my obsessive mind.
It’s a weird feeling, this is. One that’s both elating and panic-inducing. But, at least I did it. I took my novel-in-progress, and, with a click, turned it into a novel under consideration.
That’s got to be worth something, right?