The View from the Bar in Unpublished Author Waiting Limbo

There is a special place that all unpublished authors wanting to submit to a publisher evenutally congregate in. It’s called Unpublished Author Waiting Limbo. It’s really not either heaven or hell but I’m going to designate it hell and give it it’s very own special circle because Unpubbed Author Waiting Limbo can be torture. And it’s not because Unpubbed Author Waiting Limbo is full of devils with pitchforks and crows pecking your eyes out. It’s actually quite a nice place. There are comfy couches and seats. Magazines to read. A little library of books. There’s a bar and music. A nice fire going. It seems comfortable. But that’s just on the outside. Inside, every single author is torturing themselves with “what’s happening to my submission?” Because that’s the problem with Unpubbed Author Waiting Limbo. You don’t know. And when we don’t know, our brain makes up all kinds of stories about what is happening with your sub. Maybe it’s taking so long because the ed loves it and is getting a second opinion? Maybe it’s taking so long because the ms has gone missing? Maybe it’s taking so long because the ed hasn’t got to it yet? Maybe she hates it and it’s gone in the bin and I didn’t get the rejection email?
There are thousands of stories in Upubbed Author Waiting Limbo, all happening inside the authors heads. The human brain abhors not knowing and so when we don’t know what’s happening, it just goes ahead and makes stuff up for us.

Yay for brains.

Anyway, my brain is a master of making stuff up for me in the absence of not knowing. Currently, I have three subs out. Sub number one has been gone four and a half months now and since I have been passed to a new editor, I fear my Unpubbed Author Waiting Limbo clock has been reset back to sub number two, which has been gone six weeks. Sub number 3 is SYTYCW and two weeks after everyone else has had responses, I am still waiting for mine. I do not know why I haven’t heard but currently my brain is telling me they either never got my entry or they’ve lost it. This is making Unpubbed Author Waiting Limbo a very unpleasant place to be right now and I wish I wasn’t here.

I’ve got quite familiar with Unpubbed Author Waiting Limbo. It’s actually become like home. I’m starting to put up pictures and photos, put a nice rug down, got my special pillow. But you know, it’s not really home. I see people who have been here less time than me get that magical response which fires them up to heaven or down to hell, and I am jealous. I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to move on to Published Author Waiting Limbo which is just through the fabulous double doors down the end of the hallway. The doors that are guarded by two-headed dogs, a lake of fire, and a 900 million foot high barbed wire fence.

Some days I am okay with being in UnPubbed Author Waiting Limbo. I’ve got friends here and the vodka is cheap and plentiful. But today is not one of those days. There is a way out though. There’s a small doorway behind the bar that will let you crawl to freedom and I’m sitting at the bar contemplating that doorway right now. It’s in the opposite direction to Published Author Waiting Limbo of course but there aren’t any two-headed dogs or lakes of fire or fences. Just five minutes walk and I can open it and be free of Unpubbed Author Waiting Limbo forever. And it’s starting look very, very attractive.

Yes, I know the best way to handle it is to write, and yes, some days that’s what I do. But Unpubbed Author Waiting Limbo wears you down. It can sap your creativity. And no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get your brain to stop thinking about why you haven’t heard yet and devising various hideous scenarios about how lame your sub is and how your email filter is somehow deleting every email that could possibly be from an editor.

Today, as I am waiting for some sort of SYTYCW news and failing to get any, is a day of no creativity or inspiration. It’s a day of frustration. It’s a day where I think I will NEVER escape this place. I will be here for ever and ever and ever. It’s a day of thinking that it isn’t worth it and that it would be so easy to end the torture and just walk out the doorway at the back of the bar.

And right at this moment I want to.

31 thoughts on “The View from the Bar in Unpublished Author Waiting Limbo”

  1. I know is sucks. I waited 4 1/2 months after being told it would be 4 wks on my last set of revisions before I sold.

    I was having nightmares about her calling just to tell me I’d made it worse…and to add insult to injury we were on some spam fax list that made out phone ring at 2am. So I would jump out of bed and scramble for the phone only to have my ear BEEPED in. I was going insane.I was starting to twitch. It was ultimately 20 months on one sub.

    And I would do it all again, and ten times worse, to get to this side of it. In a heart beat and no question.

    Hang in there. It’s worth it to get to the other side.

  2. oh Jackie, hang in there!
    Your submission to NV had so many hits so you should be proud that you do write some fantastic stories!!
    Perhaps you should try a different publisher (ducks head to get away from evil stare!)??!
    Or you could try and submit to Embrace books or even Carina Press – the ebook route, but it could get you published!!
    But, DO NOT go through that door! You have many people cheering you on. Your creativity and inspiration will hit you again – you are a writer, it is everywhere!

  3. I can’t believe people are still waiting on SYTYCW. I would definitely be a wreck if I hadn’t heard on the last day, but I really get what you’re saying about what to do while you wait. Sometimes I get tired of the advice to keep writing because DUH, that’s what I’m doing. I’m a writer, but I could still be writing even if I heard back… so keep writing really has… nothing to do with waiting!

    Good luck to you. Technically I think Toronto has a business hour or two left. Hopefully you’ll hear today or at least know why you haven’t heard!

  4. Maisey – yeah, but I haven’t had revisions. I haven’t even had a request for a full. I haven’t had anything. It’s grinding me down.

    Kerrin – ebooks, yeah, but fact is, they don’t make me much money. And I want to be paid for all this crap. Plus category is hard to sell elsewhere. But thanks, I appreciate the cheers.

    Nicole – yeah, it sucks majorly. They now have about 15 minutes by my calculation but still nothing. And no communciations as to why I haven’t heard anything. So now I have to wait until my time Tuesday before I can even get a response. If I get a response.

    Aimee – thanks. I’d do a smiley face but I’m right out of smileys at the moment.

  5. oh no. Gorgeous girl you make me want to cry πŸ™

    Here’s a thougt (just a teeny-tiny one) can you go through the little door and come back? Can you just pop through there and into a room (that looks like alot like a beach cabana, complete with drinks in big glases with cute umbrellas)and have a little holiday.


    Then come back to this lounge space with your mind refreshed and your resolve renewed.

    Because your head needs a break. Anxiety is draining, and tiring, and numbing, and it makes us into lumps of useless wet sludge.

    And, IMO, they are holding onto your entry because it is being passed around an editor or two (higher up in the decision-making order) and they are seriously considering a request for full. And said editors are fighting over who gets to be your editor, because they all think you are so brilliant, and they all want to be the one to work with you!

  6. Jo – Lol! Y’know, that might be the key. A little Waiting Limbo holiday. Sure would be nice to get away. Oh and don’t cry. Please. I’ve done enough of that for everyone.
    Re my sub, I think the sad truth is that it never got to them. But then I’m not the only one waiting. There are about six that I know of who still haven’t heard.

    Suzanne – thanks. It’s okay. I don’t know what to say either, apart from WAAAAHHHH! πŸ™

  7. Jackie
    I think if you left the horrible horrible place of purgatory you would be compelled to return because you are a writer and as far as I can gather a pretty damn good one. Think of all the people who persevered for years and got the Call. I really hope its just round the corner for you.
    Nina xxxxx

  8. Hi Jackie,
    Move over and pass the salt, I’m still waiting too. : )
    My guess is someone’s stewing over who’s on first… since the entry didn’t go to any paticuliar editor, maybe they’re still not sure who is supposed to have this wrapped up by TODAY. Hugs to all of us still waiting and the best thing I found to do was dig into my TBR keeper section and take my mind off the fact we’re still waiting. Hopefully when we get the reply, it’ll have been worth the wait.


  9. Nina – thanks! Yes, writing drags me back no matter how much I scream about not wanting to go. Sigh. It is perseverance. And yeah, sometimes perseverance sucks. πŸ™‚

    Anne – Yes, that was the idea. I know they’ve had sickness and snow and whatnot so I can only think it’s taken them longer than they thought. Would be nice to know what’s happening though. Torture is right. πŸ™

    Julia – thank you. Nice to get hugs today.

    Robin – you’re a star. We’re both propping up the same bar huh? Sigh. Well, if it’s on you, I’ll have a glass of Kristal. Your most expensive vintage. πŸ˜‰ With a Jack chaser. Got any left in the bottle?

    Tereasa – oh hey, another waiter! Join Robin and I at the bar, and pass a bit of that hope you’ve still got. Mine has all run out. I know, pathetic huh? What line are you aiming at? Cheers to you and anyone else still waiting for the torture to end!

  10. I’m targeting the Super line but failed to mention that when I sent it. That’s the trouble with all this time spent waiting, it leaves room for all those gremlins running around my head yelling all the things I should have done.

  11. Okay girly there are enough people here are being all supportive and lovey-dovey so I’m going to be big bad Elissa. Guess what? I nailed that door behind the bar shut. There’s no sneaking out for you. You are a writer. I don’t care how bad a time you’re having of it – you’re talented, you’re funny, you’re witty and you rock as a writer. So knock back a few more bottles of bubbly, jump up on an empty table top and wiggle that tooshy like there’s no tomorrow, laugh and in a very short time you’ll be sashaying down that hall to those double doors, wondering how on earth you could have ever contemplating giving up. Giving up indeed! Never! Never you hear me!!!

    Was that too butch? I don’t want Maisey making comments about the size of my ladyballs…*wink*

    Loves ya Jax and hang in there.

  12. Jackie, I’m gutted for you that you’re still waiting.
    But lets be reasonable about this. You know that around 6 people are still waiting. And they did announce everyone would know by Friday? How about a nice, friendly Monday morning collective email asking when you might hope to hear?
    Worth a shot love!

  13. The waiting sucks and sucks and SUCKS! I checked eHarl on the hour every hour yesterday just to find out if you’d heard and every time my heart dropped with disappointment for you. I know how sucky waiting can be, but do hang in there. There *will* be great news for you this year. I believe it πŸ™‚

  14. Elissa – argh! Those are big ladyballs there, m’dear. Dammit, can’t open the door now! What am I going to do now? Gah, poor me another drink someone, looks like I’m here for the duration! πŸ™‚

    Maisey – I know! I’m skeered.

    Scarlet – yes, indeed, a nice polite email will be sent. Anything could have happened really, I just want to know my poor old sub didn’t get lost in cyberspace.

    Judy – thanks! Limbo lounge has a certain ring to it. Nicer than Limbo torture chamber. πŸ˜‰

    Maya – thanks hon! Yeah, I was pretty disappointed too (as you can tell). Ah well, who knows re this year? A request, at least, would be good!

  15. See? Now that’s what I didn’t want to happen! I’m always getting into trouble for being too bossy and now Maisey thinks I’ve got HUGE ladyballs!!!!

    Does it make any difference if I tell you that I keep them in the most gorgeous (and expensive) handbag?

  16. You know, I was in that limbo about 10 years ago and I did walk out that door behind the bar. I’m glad I did, because it freed me to write other things, kept me from going insane or getting depressed, and 3 years later I walked back inside and within six months I was published. That’s just my story, but sometimes you need to give yourself a little space and perspective and freedom. If it’s wearing you down, it might not be as worth it as you think, and taking a breather–for a week or a month or a year–isn’t the same as giving up. Just my .02!

  17. Maisey – interesting simile.

    Kate – Y’know, that’s actually really great advice. Because you’re right, having a break isn’t giving up. Some days I think about it a lot and some days I don’t. But I do tend to make grand pronouncements about things and then feel completely different the next day. But I think you’re right. I think escaping for a little while – even if it’s just for the weekend, is a good thing. I might do that next time it gets all a bit much. Interesting that when you came back, you sold. Sometimes breaking the pattern a bit can work wonders eh? Maybe that’s the way to go…

    Lacey – braaaaains…yummmy braaaaaains….;-)

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