Monday, July 15, 2013

The Five Stages of Having Your Manuscript Requested

Let's hope he's just sleeping.
I've discovered there is a lot more to having your manuscript requested than popping open champagne bottles and high-fiving yourself.  For those of you on the cusp of experiencing this phenomenon, here is a brief review of the stages you can expect to endure during the process.

Stage One – Shock

Short, personal responses in your inbox from agents whose taste you admire and whose opinions you value indicating that your query and sample pages were satisfactory enough to request a full can have an unsteadying effect on an already fragile nervous system.  It is recommended you have all windows closed and possibly accessorize your outfits with a mosquito net over your face (Lady Gaga has probably done this) during this stage as your mouth will be hanging open unattractively for a time.
Stage Two – Euphoria

During this stage, your mind will jump forward in time, to a point where you have already signed with one of the agents who requested your full, have sold your manuscript to a large publisher, had your work received with admiration on a global scale by critics and readers alike, and you are being spoken of in the same breath as Poe, Austin, and King. This stage lasts approximately four minutes.

Stage Three – Hives and Cold Sweats

This stage is relatively self explanatory.  As you wait for any of the agents with your full to respond, you experience the physical suffering usually associated with victims of exotic, air-borne jungle diseases, most of which will have been irradiated by Bill Gates by 2023.  These symptoms strangely will give you the uncanny ability to find every typo in your manuscript that was overlooked in the past nine hundred and seventy-two edits, resigning you to the fact that you've ruined any chance you may have had of getting an agent.

Stage Four – Self-Inflicted Delusion

After a month or so of waiting for replies, the highs of stage two and the lows of stage three will give way to a questioning of your own mental sanity and all things which you once believed you knew and understood.  The first thing to be questioned will be whether your manuscript was ever actually requested at all.  You will double check the emails asking for the full, rereading lines such as “I would like to see more” for an overlooked word that could drastically change the line's meaning, such as “I would like NOT to see more.”  This stage is a decent into madness and depression probably much like that experienced by Hemingway on a daily basis. 

Stage Five – Ambiguously Alive Cat

Well, I’m not actually to stage five yet.  It seems like it could go one of two ways.  I get an agent or I don’t.  Right now, stage five is the Schrödinger's cat of stages.  Until I open emails from all of the agents with my manuscript, my dream of securing an agent and getting my work published is both alive and dead.  Here’s hoping one of those excellent agents is a cat person.        

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