Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Analysis Paralysis

It's no big secret that I'm getting ready to submit to agents and editors right now. I just went to a major international conference, and you all know the drill: you go to a conference, you get to submit one piece to those agents and editors who open themselves to conference attendees. Of course I'm subbing right now, and everyone else who was there should be, too. It would be silly not to.

But the closer I get to stuffing those envelopes, the more I find myself running back to the faculty bios and my own pages of notes and summaries of the books they've worked on. Because maybe that manuscript that I was going to send Editor A should actually go to Editor C, but then again, Editor B said that even though her house is known for X she really actually likes Q, so maybe I should send her Manuscript A and Editor C should get D and B should go out to smaller presses, but then again, B might be my strongest one, so if I send it to Editor C then even if it's not her thing maybe she'll hand it off to another editor somewhere in her house who would love it, because Editor A gave us all more time so maybe I should just polish the manuscript I'm finishing and send IT to her and I only have a month left maybe I'll just send them all randomly and see what happens.*

Tell me I'm not alone in this. More importantly, tell me how you handle it. What are your tips for getting over analysis paralysis?

*I would never really do that. Just so you know.


  1. Poor Ishta! I only have one novel ready for submission, so my decision was much simpler than yours.

  2. I have been there and will be there again soon. I finally had to remind myself that editors/agents are human beings too. It helped to get some emails back from them with some typos, etc. It made me realize that even editors/agents make mistakes and if that is the case then they'll probably give a bit of a break if we make some too.

  3. You are not alone, but unfortunately I have no words of wisdom. I am a newbie in the field as well feeling much the same way as you. I have not attended any conferences, however, so I don't have the options you do. I believe that if you submit in waves of 5-7 each week that you'll have an idea of what's working or not. Good Luck!

  4. Best of luck to you. I don't have any advice to chime in on this one but I'm hoping that you get a nice book contract.

  5. I actually first need to finish my novel, so I can't really complain. I tend to do that for other things though. I don't cope, I just am. :-)

  6. Emily, lucky you! ;-) Let me know how the submissions go.

    Lois, that's a great thing to remember. And just getting our stuff out there is all we can do, really, isn't it?

    Foldingfields, you should try to get to a conference sometime. They're a great way to meet new people and learn a lot.

    Michael, thanks. :-)

    Fickle Cattle, good luck with finishing your novel.

  7. Eep! Oh good luck on your submissions! I'm ready to just get started with querying, though my novel isn't ready. But at the same time it is such a scary thought!

  8. Good luck with the subs! I don't have any advice to give but I hope you get some positive responses!!

  9. Sounds crazy! I think you're probably over-thinking it. (I do that all the time with big decisions.) So after you've freaked out some, I suggest take a breather. Then come back to it if you must.

    There comes a point though where you just have to do it and send those things out! :)

    Good luck!!!

  10. Congrats on getting ready to submit. Maybe you should just pick 5 to submit to and do it. I'd be nervous too. I have one more round of edits. Maybe not doing it is my paralysis. Good luck.

  11. For me it comes down to instinct. I do all the research and analysis, and waffle and rethink, and then I take a deep breath and go with the first option that pops into my head.

    If it makes you feel better, it once took me two hours to decide which of two agents to sub AT THE SAME AGENCY. All that for a form reject! Sometimes there's just no point in over-thinking it.

  12. Colene, good luck with polishing your novel.

    Paul, thanks!

    Krispy, a breather might not be a bad idea. Thanks!

    Natalie, I have the 5 - it's deciding which PB to submit to each of them that's the problem! And good luck to you. Here's hoping that after this last round, you can get your stuff out there.

    Lindsey, that's a great tip. Instinct is often the best way to go. And I totally hear ya on the agent submission thing. Been there! :-)