Can’t Hit Send?

A writer emailed me:
The novel is finished, the query letter is drafted, the synopsis is as tight as I can get it, and I still can’t bring myself to hit that damned “send” button. I’m sure you see the work of many writers who query too eagerly and make bone-head mistakes… I’m trying to avoid making one of those blunders right now.

I have a feeling a lot of writers can relate to this. There’s always a nervousness that comes with putting yourself out there, especially if you’ve been preparing for a long time.

I’ve been thinking about this from my own perspective lately. I had a great conversation with a friend over lunch where we tried to identify the things that hold us back in our work. We tried to be really honest about our fears and talked about ways to keep our fears from impeding our success. I realized that I sometimes have the same fear of hitting “send” when I’m submitting an important project to editors at major publishing houses.

What holds us back? It’s our fear of failure. As soon as we put it out there, we become open to rejection. What if we did it wrong? What if it’s not good enough? What if someone says it’s horrible? Can I handle that?

I even feel that way about the blog sometimes. What if my post is awful? What if nobody comments? Hitting “publish” is a risk every time.

We know all the answers to this, don’t we?

We only fail when we fail to try.

We miss every shot we don’t take.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

But I have a feeling you’re not looking for inspirational quotes here. Let’s talk about why you might be paralyzed when it comes time to send out that query. There are all the obvious reasons (fear of rejection, etc.) but I think there’s another factor. If you’re reading blogs and attending conferences, learning about the industry so that you can get published, you’re probably seeing a lot of “do this in your query” and “don’t do that in your query.” You’re being given so many different pieces of advice, and hearing so many agents say they’ll immediately reject you for making the smallest mistake… honestly, I think it’s enough to paralyze just about anyone.

We are telling you the bar is high and encouraging you to bring your very best work. Sometimes we tell you about how competitive it is out there, because we’re trying to give you a dose of reality.

But sometimes you have to shut your ears to all of that. You can’t take every iota of advice from every agent out there. You can’t run away scared every time someone says “This business is hard.” So all you can do is ask yourself: Is my manuscript (or proposal) ready to go? Have I done some homework so that I know which agents to query? Have I taken my time crafting the best query letter I can?

If so, then go for it. Hit “send.”

Don’t wait for perfection. You want your work to be as strong as possible, yet you can’t just wait forever, always saying, “I can do better.” At some point, you’ve got to listen to your gut when it tells you, “This thing’s good to go.”

You are definitely opening yourself up to rejection, but you could be opening yourself up to your future, too. You’ll never know unless you hit send.

Readers? Can you relate to the difficulty hitting “send”?

© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!

77 Comments

  1. Matthew C. Kriner on March 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM

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  2. Michelle DeRusha@Graceful on March 3, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    >Oh my gosh I can relate. I literally sat at my desk with my finger hovering on the mouse, terrified to click. My husband stood next to me: "What in the world are you waiting for?" he asked. And then we laughed. It was sort of silly. But sort of not. It was a big moment..although it turned out it wasn't the first time I had to click send! I got carpal tunnel it took me so many clicks (just kidding).



  3. tahlianewland.com on March 2, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    >I discovered that if you don't submit it to all possibilities at once, then when/if they all reject you, you can look at your ms again before sending it out to the next lot of potential agents or publishers. You will have had a few months break by then and be able to look at it fresh.



  4. KH on March 2, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    >I can so identify with this topic! It took me six months to "hit send" to send the initial synopsis to the small publisher who eventually published my novel. "Eventually" isn't even the right word. They asked for the complete manuscript almost immediately, and offered me a contract a couple of weeks later.
    Hit send! They might say "yes!"



  5. A.A. Rosenberg on March 2, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    >"The best is yet to come." They said, before hitting the 'send' button. 🙂



  6. Bonnie Lacy on March 2, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    >Thanks so much for this post.

    It gets discouraging. We do our best to write, to get it done, (mine is a book now – a real novel – not just a dream) and try to learn the ropes of the industry. And just as you said, learning to "do this, don't do that." When I read a novel, though, I find many of the "don't do thats" and wonder who to listen to. Then I question my own work. And don't hit send.

    I think by not giving up, we arrive to the top of the slush pile.

    I'm not giving up. I still have a lot to learn, but today, I'm hitting send!



  7. Emily Gray Clawson on March 2, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    >Oh, thank you for this. I definitely needed it today. It seems that as soon as people learn that you are an aspiring writer they feel it's their job to tell you why you'll never make it. There was even a class scheduled at a local conference with a title along the lines of "Why you'll never get published." – not necessarily what I need to hear. For me I overcome the fear by learning all I can, working diligently at it and then reminding myself that every successful author out there has done and felt the same things. Just finishing something already sets me apart, taking that next step is just a natural progression. It's scary but invigorating, too.



  8. Michelle on March 2, 2011 at 4:13 AM

    >thank you for this great post.. I feel like you've given me permission to hit send 🙂



  9. Ruth A. Taylor on March 1, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    >It's almost kind of like looking for a job. If you need a job, there is always going to be an interview. After the first one (or more), you recognize your mistakes. The rejection gives you more experience and the ability to perform better for the next interview.



  10. SM Johnston on March 1, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    >This is a great post. I didn't query agents who who my top preference first, which I think was good as it gave me time to see if my pitch was working. I honed it and got more requests with my new pitch.

    On a side note I have you on my wish list to send, but you're not currently open to unsolicited submissions AND aren't currently seeking Christian themed Speculative YA Fiction.

    I think it's also important to keep writing while you're querying. A friend of mine got an agent and a huge contract on her latest novel, and she'd had plenty of novels passed on before that.

    Thanks for the post.



  11. Kelly Combs on March 1, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    >This post reminds me of the movie "Facing The Giants" when the young boy is afraid to go out for football. To paraphrase, the boy asks his dad, "What if I don't make the team?" And his dad says, "How can you be any more off the team than you are right now?"

    How much more unpublished can you be? Hit send!



  12. June G on March 1, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    >I sure needed to read this! I'm nearing the end–completed all major revisions and checking for typos. An editor from Disney-Hyperion even told me my summary was good and she totally gets a feel for my characters and what the story is about from my query and yet–I'm nervous to put it all together and press SEND.

    I even notice I've slowed down finishing up. I guess it's fear of the ultimate judgment now that's it's crunch time.

    Thanks for the encouragement!



  13. Sarah Thomas on March 1, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    >Lordy, yes! In addition to the fear of the boneheaded mistake I have the fear that this is my one and only shot. If I query and get rejected, then I feel like I can't requery. So many sites say you shouldn't requery the same editor or agent unless at least a year has passed and the work is significantly different. Rules again! Of course, I did requery an editor after taking her advice, but I felt like she'd given my that opening by making some suggestions. She was very open to being asked again and gave me the nicest rejection I've ever had, even suggesting another house she thought would be a good fit. My fear could be unfounded, but that's a big part of the hesitation in hitting send for me . . .



  14. Sarah Forgrave on March 1, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    >Oh boy, this is a constant struggle. As a trying-to-recover perfectionist, I always see something that I could tweak. I know it's time to hit "send" when I've changed a word, then changed it back to the original word at least 3 times. 🙂 Great post!



  15. Barbara Kloss on March 1, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    >Good Luck Joel Q–hey I think I know you from Nathan's forums 😉 I thought your query letter was awesome!–unfortunately I'm also not an agent…



  16. Joel Q on March 1, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    >I needed this post.
    It's my month to send.
    Manuscript is done.
    Query letter is done.
    I've been waiting too long to hit that button. It's time.

    Thanks
    JQ



  17. Linda on March 1, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    >To all the brave writers out there- I hope you don't ever feel that you've wasted time writing no matter WHAT the outcome. You've got guts and heart and dedication and, unlike many others, you don't ever have to wonder "what if"…Celebrate your accomplishments NOW. Don't wait for the book deal.



  18. iheartya on March 1, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    >…after FINALLY hitting the send button, I often read and reread the email that I sent agonizing over anything that could be misconstrued as inappropriate.



  19. Elizabeth Michels on March 1, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    >My fingers are hovering over the send button as we speak. I worry that I have wasted every second of my limited free time for the past year chasing a dream. In the end I know I have to trust in my work and believe the dream is possible. *embracing the fear and clicking send anyway*



  20. MJR on March 1, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    >Yes, it's very scary…so scary I only hit send once a week and then try and forget about the queries for the rest of the week. The worst thing is the reality check. You've spent a year writing a novel and loving it and then the rejections start coming in and you have to stay positive and still believe in the ms…



  21. Keli Gwyn on March 1, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    >Fear tries to trip me up on a daily basis. After I pressed "send" and sent my requested full on its way to my Dream Agent, I spent the next 24 hours having something resembling a panic attack. My tale has a happy ending: I received an offer of representation. Even so, I still battle fears and doubts when I think of sending new work to her or one of my critique partners. I've learned that ignoring those pesky foes is the best way to thwart them.



  22. Julie Jarnagin on March 1, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    >Yes! I just sent my manuscript to my editor. So scary!



  23. David A. Todd on March 1, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    >I think fear of success is a real thing, and might play into what your e-mail sender is fealing.

    http://davidatodd.blogspot.com/2008/01/excuses-fear-of-success.html



  24. Barbara Kloss on March 1, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    >Oh this couldn't have come at a better time for me. I'm currently dealing with query fright.

    Thanks!



  25. Jill on March 1, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    >That's why I think it's better to test the waters–definitely no mass querying. If I don't get any bites, I need to look at my word and edit. This all can be so depressing. In the throes of it right now. The process, not the depression.



  26. Nancy on March 1, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    >Oh yes, for sure. Even worse is when I send out requested pages & realize something in those pages could have been better & you just don't seem to see that until after you've hit send. But I can say, the more queries you send, the easier it gets. And worse case, you might have burned a bridge, but it will always be rebuilt over time.



  27. Linda on March 1, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    >I often feel that there is a disproportionate amount of "tough love" on blogs and websites – lots of scary warnings and so much information to learn. I'm a big believer in chicken soup for the wannabe soul….sometimes we just need plain old support and encouragement. Wannabe artists are brave – we put our hearts on the line and it's hard. Thanks so much for acknowledging that- and not just on today's entry.



  28. Casey on March 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    >Oh man, this is me, completely and totally me. I'm not ready to submit by any counts, but I do know that fear. I'm even sitting here stewing because I have a writing assignment and fearing I won't get it right. But you won't know until you try and you can't grow if you don't take that step on faith. Thanks Rachelle. I'm going to go work on that assignment now…:)



  29. crow productions on March 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    >Yes. You just have to hit the send button. All those questions run through my head, the biggest is, "Is my novel really good enough?" A lot of times I reassure myself by remembering all the things I've read and felt certain my story was better.



  30. Katherine Jenkins on March 1, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    >Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this…do you mind if I quote you? So many powerful statements here. I just sit "send" on my manuscript to my editor…I feel like I just gave "birth!" I am still scared….but I did my BEST and that's all anyone can do…thanks for writing such a timely piece..so glad you hit "send" on this one!



  31. Carrie L. Lewis on March 1, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    >I can relate to being afraid to hit the 'send' button, but for a different reason.

    My fear, I think, is the fear of success.

    Do you realize that if I query an agent and am accepted and if I sell a manuscript and it goes to press and it's successful… I'll have to do it all again! Talk about pressure!



  32. Nairam on March 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    >Though not to the send stage yet, I still have jitters every time I hit "post" on a new novel for critiques on the writing forum I'm a part of.

    I've found it gets better the more you do, but I'm also aware of the nice cushion of other gracious writers on the forum.

    Because of that, I'm sure to have some more panic attacks if I ever reach the "send" stage!



  33. Anonymous on March 1, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    >I thought my novel was ready to go, but after several polite rejections, I guess it's not.
    Trouble is, I can't figure out what's wrong and no one seems to be able to tell me. I'm not trying to write a best-seller, just want to find a niche market and write the best book I can.



  34. Rick Barry on March 1, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    >I pondered this very issue last week while sidelined by flu. We all know that a first impression can be a lasting one, and no one wants to leave a lousy first impression, so it becomes easier to procrastinate than to leap into the action. But it's like the first time I jumped from an airplane–there comes a time when you've done all the preparation and you just have to go for it!



  35. Steph on March 1, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    >I can definitely relate to this post. If you were to be in the room with me when I send a query, you'd hear me emit an 'eek!' as I click on the send button. Even though I'm happy with my query and first pages, it's still terrifying to send out those emails.



  36. Anonymous on March 1, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    >I'm currently working under contract, and I get stressed every time it's time to hit SEND on a project to my editor. I want to give her the very best I can, and that SEND button is so easy to hit, so dangerous for making a mistake, and it's so important to get it right.



  37. Jaime on March 1, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    >Aw, Jim. You burst my bubble of hope for the future 😉

    After I sent in my proposal I ended up re-reading it for the
    100th time – and even after crits from outside "eyes" and my own personal edits, I still found errors and bad sentences and story structure I was almost embarrassed by. I guess at some point, you do just press "send" and trust the Lord for your future, your learning, and being open to teachable-moments. 🙂



  38. James L. Rubart on March 1, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    >Last summer I was finishing edits on my second novel, Book of Days at the same time I was on a book tour with Robin Carroll, Tosca Lee, and Brandilyn Collins.

    It was 1am as I sat in the lobby with Robin and Tosca. Edits were done. My index finger floated over the send key. But Tosca had to press my finger down.

    I wish I could say it gets easier after you're contracted–not always.

    But action crushes fear, so we must act.

    Jim



  39. Walt Mussell on March 1, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    >I went through this pain this weekend as I mulled over my Genesis entry, wondering if it was ready. At some point, I just had to send it in.

    Hitting that "send" buttom reminds me of college exams. You can agonize over your answers only so long before you just have to turn the exam in and move on.



  40. KLo on March 1, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    >You're right, hitting "send" is the hardest part. I learned a valuable lesson on this once when I made a very stupid typo in a query … I was afraid to send a query out for months after that!



  41. Olivia Newport on March 1, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    >It seems to be my nature to second guess myself on lots of things, so, yes, I'm as likely to hit "cancel" as "send." Eventually I give myself a little cognitive therapy and do it.



  42. Gwen Stewart on March 1, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    >Rachelle, I wonder if you feel like a teacher sometimes. Because at school, the kids who NEED to take advice rarely listen, and the accomplished students take advice straight to heart–often internalizing the message to the point of paralysis.

    This writer probably falls into the latter category. If he or she has studied, belabored and honed, then only one thing is necessary: hit send. And best wishes!



  43. Tanya Reimer on March 1, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    >To get over the fear, I tell myself, it's really not a big deal if it's rejected, my life doesn't change.

    That's a lie. Each rejections changes something– Makes me stronger, makes me repolish my writing, and for some reason, makes me hit SEND faster next time.

    I do feel better once I hit send, but the fear you speak of is very VERY real. Because at the end of the day, all that work we did, was it for nothing? Were we fooling ourselves in thinking we could write? Are we just so in love with our own words, that we no longer see the garbage? Rejection makes us question ourselves.

    Then of course, what if they say yeah? That's a whole different type of fear, isn't it? What will change?



  44. Erinn on March 1, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    >I've started the query process a week ago and every time I hit send my stomach knots up and I feel like I"m going to taste my dinner all over again. I stare again and again that the submission requirements, I don't want some stupid mistake to mess me up. Then I think, what the worst that can happen, form rejection, right?
    No big deal, I have other books I've written and I can try the process again some other time.

    Still my stomach feels queezy right now, just thinking about it.



  45. Heather Sunseri on March 1, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    >Oh, my, YES! Hitting "send" or "publish" is difficult for me every single time. It takes great courage to put yourself out there, but unless we do, we'll never know.



  46. Em-Musing on March 1, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    >YES! Because always, after hitting "send" it's like a neon light goes on high-lightly every mistake.



  47. Richard Mabry on March 1, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    >Guilty as charged. It's hard–no, it's impossible to know when we've got it right. My friend, the late facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Bill Wright, had a saying he used when teaching the art and practice to new physicians: The enemy of good is perfect.
    I recognize I'll never achieve perfection, so I strive for really, really good.



  48. Ishta Mercurio on March 1, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    >I can absolutely relate to this. I have it right now! It isn't the plethora of advice out there that's got me paralyzed, though. It's the whole "one and done" thing with the editors I'm considering. I don't mind learning that it needs a bit more polish when I know I can re-sub 6 months down the line, but knowing that this is my only shot with these people is really intimidating.



  49. Erika Robuck on March 1, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    >I can really relate to this right now since I just started the query process on my second novel. It's very hard to send the work out there.

    Thank you for this post.



  50. Choices on March 1, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    >I loved this post! I think it is a confidence thing. We are unsure of our abilities and do fear the rejection.



  51. Susan Ujka Larson on March 1, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    >Thank you. I am encouraged!



  52. Erin MacPherson on March 1, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    >I think I have the opposite problem… I'm too impulsive and press "send" too early. I think your advice on when to press applies to us "Senders" as well.



  53. Timothy Fish on March 1, 2011 at 7:35 AM

    >I don’t usually have this problem. There is no such thing as perfect with art, so I figure close enough is good enough. But I will say that I have quit reading most of these agent blogs where the agent tears query letters apart. I find that I’m surprised when I reach that point when the next step is to click the send button. But with nothing else to do, you just click the button and go on to something else.



  54. Terri Tiffany on March 1, 2011 at 7:29 AM

    >Yes, I can relate even more now as I have pressed Send and then experienced those rejections. So I find myself being more careful now,taking my time, more worried that if I submit too soon, that's it!



  55. Wendy Paine Miller on March 1, 2011 at 7:28 AM

    >Okay, now you’ve really got me thinking. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m a bit like one of the characters you had us think of last week, one that thinks of myself one way but acts a different way. In my post yesterday I shared about how I like to take risks and how I’m not afraid of much. Truth is, of course I feel the fear of “send”. But I do it anyway.

    Most writing related risks I take have to do with writing free during the first draft, posting a vulnerable piece, or reaching out to make connections. These are uncomplicated risks.

    Hitting “send” for a manuscript carries more weight…goes deeper. Humility and trust strengthen me to do it anyway.

    Excellent post.



  56. Linda Jackson on March 1, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    >Thanks for another timely post. I was just pondering this thought this morning. I am completing revisions on a manuscript much quicker than I anticipated, yet every agent post I've read out there says don't try to finish a rewrite too quickly. I'm not trying to finish quickly. It's just happening. So then I ponder is this thing really ready or not. After I finish the revisions, should I set the manuscript aside for a couple of months, then revisit. Or do I send it on out there? I don't know the answer, but your post was definitely inspiring.

    Thanks again.



  57. M.E. on March 1, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    >Oh – that SEND button, again! If only I could wiggle my paralyzed index finger to press it! Great post – loved the graphic, too. 🙂



  58. Jim Hill on March 1, 2011 at 6:59 AM

    >I just had an "Electric Company" flashback…

    Tearing the "S" from his chest, Letterman changes E-N-D into S-E-N-D and turns paralysis into opportunity!



  59. Katie Ganshert on March 1, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    >Most definitely yes, I've had this fear before! Every time I send my stuff to my crit partners. At that point I've read my MS so many times I have no idea if it's a masterpiece or completely garbage and I freak out just a little before sending it through cyberspace.



  60. Christine on March 1, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    >I no longer have a problem hitting the send button. It's hitting enter to open an email that churns my stomach. That's when I start the process of questioning myself about what I could have done differently. I play the "what if?" game as I read through yet another rejection.

    Though I'm still sending out queries and receiving mostly no, I am receiving yes in several other areas. My articles are published on websites and in print. I am a regular contributor for an online Christian newspaper. These victories are keeping me focused on writing, not the querying process.



  61. Ted Cross on March 1, 2011 at 4:43 AM

    >I reached a point where I thought my book was ready, sent out ten queries, got a couple of partial requests, and realized that it wasn't truly ready. The 'it was so close' that I got from one agent was nice, but I need to get beyond that. So, now I have spent over a year continuing to edit, and I feel that I am never getting there.



  62. Manon Eileen on March 1, 2011 at 4:32 AM

    >You know, I'm sort of the other way around.

    After having spent years and years on a very active forum, I hit "send" (or "post comment") way too easily. I'm used to being able to edit afterwards, and I still need to get used to not being able to in blog comments.

    It even counts for emails… I hit send, then see something I want to edit and then hate myself for always rushing it. It always makes me want to pull out my hair. But I'm getting better! I write important mails in notepad so I can't do a "tab+enter" which I'm so incredibly used to.

    I hope, though, that not being too hesitant to send stuff out will help me sending out queries, eventually.

    Thanks for the post, Rachel 🙂



  63. Rosemary Gemmell on March 1, 2011 at 4:24 AM

    >Great post again. Love the bit about 'could be opening ourselves up to our future'. I've spent so many years sending short work out, getting some rejections, getting some published, that I thought I was over the 'send fear'.

    But with the novels, it started again! Then I began to wonder if it was party fear of success – and I don't mean that in a big-headed way. It's tied up with that remark about 'it might change your future'. I think it's only now that I'm willing to embrace my future being changed in this way (if I'm that lucky!). Family grown up, no ties, husband supportive, lots of writing contacts here in the UK and across the Atlantic. I think I've been gearing up for this for a long time! Now I just have to send this and risk coming over the wrong way. Maybe a lot of people are like me – we spend too much time analysing everything until it puts us off doing anything.



  64. A3Writer on March 1, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    >I'm getting ready to hit send again. I've done a few batches of queries, and each sending was difficult. Okay, that's understating it. Hitting send to Herculean will and effort.

    It was even harder getting rejections.

    And then of course I find the flaws afterward, and learn ways to make a query better all the while I have a batch floating out there, and I feel like a royal idiot.

    The thing is I also learned things. Even with the rejections, I knew I had to try again. It took me awhile to go for attempt 2, as I was revising furiously, but I did it.

    Then I did it again, making more improvements and learning more.

    Now I'm about to do it again. I am nervous, but I also have renewed hope and vigor. I know how much I've grown since the first batch.

    We're not perfect. We're going to screw up. The world's not going to end when we hit send, though.



  65. farsh-nuke on March 1, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    >I get this but my fear is not of rejection, seen enough of that to know that ultimately it's a null force. My problem comes after the rejection when you realize you have to pick up the pieces to try again. I've been working on a 220,000 word novel (or series of novels) for a year now when somebody compared it to to fan fiction and Kachunk! The doors of possibility swung shut. It wasn't even a rejection, just a realization that I'd been wasting so much effort on something I couldn't sell. I'm still dealing with the after effects of that now, trying to extract and expand on what was original in that book.



  66. Loree Huebner on March 1, 2011 at 2:29 AM

    >It's not easy to hit the "send" button. I try to think of it as the "opening a new door" button. Thanks for this post.



  67. Tymothy Longoria on March 1, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    >To God be the glory!

    Be blessed all!



  68. Tymothy Longoria on March 1, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    >I'm nearing the "ready to hit Send" phase.

    Thank you for posting this. Clear, concise, very well-written.

    I've been building a buzz via my blog, website dedicated to my book, a Facebook "Like" page and? a book trailer!

    Whew!

    I know it's a lot. But, I know I'm doing all of this to further convince myself that it's all real and I can do this!

    SEND button, you're mine!



  69. Carol J. Garvin on March 1, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    >P.S. The workings of God are strange and wonderful. I left my comment moments ago and moved on to Ann Voskamp's beautiful blog as my last reading before heading for bed. Within her post I found these words: "We’re in the God zone when we’re out of our comfort zone, and the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, comforts us when we step outside our comfort zone. It’s only in the uncomfortable places that we can experience the tenderness of the Comforter." Something for me to sleep on.



  70. Slush on March 1, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    >This post is so true! Fear… it's all sorts of consuming. I have effectively queried and received a heaping, steamy pile of rejection. Fear is no longer a problem, denial is a certainty. The fact is I am just not there yet.

    I can relate to not wanting to hit send though. I really don't want another rejection or atypical standard 'sorry' email. Maybe I should just go back to writing for me and me alone. 🙂

    Yet the lure of published on shelves is soooo tempting… even if it means a little ego bruising.



  71. Carol J. Garvin on March 1, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    >Oh my, yes. I can definitely relate. But while I wait for the courage needed for that moment, I continue to move forward in different areas, writing new stories, revising others, blogging and interacting with writers online, reading and continuing to learn. I think I'll recognize God's prodding when it's time to make the move.



  72. Tana Adams on March 1, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    >Rejection stings, but regret hurts more in the end. I have a writer friend who refuses to query her novel because she can't stand the thought of it being rejected. It's painful to listen to her speak. She's thinking about taking the self pubbed road instead, but the truth is readers can reject her work as well. I don't see the logic, unless her motive all along has been to self publish.

    Writing is such an intimate act and I understand why it feels so personal when someone says no thanks for whatever reason. Lord knows I blew through my fair share of rejections– some that knocked me to the proverbial mat, but I kept getting up. I think that made all the difference.



  73. Benjamin Gorman on March 1, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    >Rachelle,
    Thanks for hitting "publish" on this one. I struggle with this even outside my writing life. When I applied for grad school, I tweaked that application essay a thousand times, got more letters of recommendation than I needed so I could be sure they'd be the best ones (folks who spend time writing really nice ones often want to make sure you read them before they seal the envelope), and still I couldn't drop it in the mailbox. This will sound really ridiculous, but the university was close by, so I drove over and dropped it in the blue mailbox on the sidewalk near campus. I know that's irrational. A postal worker had to take it out of that box, drive it away from the school, then bring it back the next day, but it made me feel like I was closer to making contact. I know I'll have to hit "send" for those agents far away, but I admit I'm pinning my hopes on a big writer's conference this summer; that way I'll be able to make my pitch face to face and get instant feedback. Plus, paying a hefty sum in advance to get in creates an even stronger incentive to push through those last jitters.



  74. Jeanne on March 1, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    >Yes, but it had nothing to do with writing. I'd been researching horsemanship methods for months. After serious deliberation, I chose the one that seemed like it would teach me how to understand my horse better (not just teach tricks) and I had the order all ready to go.

    But I kept pulling away from hitting Send. Finally, I just did it. I figured, what the heck–if it doesn't work, at least I'll know more about my horse than I did before, and I figured I could always sell it on eBay. The minute it went through I had buyer's remorse. Then I forgot I'd ordered it. Two weeks later, it showed up on my front porch. I gave it a go, and here I am, eight years later, still doing the program.

    All my doubt, fear and terror was for naught. Just go for it. What's the worst that can happen? You get rejected? Find out it's not for you? OK, so… change course, try again.



  75. Stephanie Thornton on March 1, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    >You'll never know if it's ready if you don't try. We all have to make mistakes to learn- so what if your book isn't 100% ready? You'll figure that out pretty quick and then figure out the next step to get it there.

    Great post!



  76. Joanne Bischof on March 1, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    >I can totally relate to the anxiety over the "send" button.

    In preperation for a huge writer's conference, I had to mail off sample chapters and the post master nearly had to pry them out of my hands today! But to everything there is a season. A time to prepare and a time to let go and have peace 🙂



  77. Stephanie McGee on March 1, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    >You have no idea how timely this post is. I'm in the "Is this novel ready to query?" stage. Wrote the query. Going to start on the synopsis some time this week. But I am struggling with that metaphorical "send" button on whether to bother with this process for this novel.



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