submit: 1.to yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another or others 2.to subject to some condition or process 3.to commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another a.to yield to the opinion or authority of another; to give in b.to allow oneself to be subjected to; to acquiesce
Now we could very well be discussing the role of a husband to the Godhead or a wife to her husband here. But we’re not. Today.
It’s an ongoing revelation for me as a writer when I understand more of the process which leads to publication. I share the journey with you who stop by to read my thoughts and opinions, presenting a mini-travelogue of the experience.
Many of you are familiar with the “Submissions” process. You need to be informed as to who will accept your manuscript without an agent: very few, you soon learn. However, if you happen to attend a writer’s conference and make contacts/friends with people in the know, in the industry, in the multiple factions of “the biz”, the professionals insist it gives you a head start on others who wish to populate the world of reading with their fiction.
Many top rate literary agents now insist you have a known/respected author’s intro to approach them. Indeed, it is as difficult to get an agent as it is a publisher.
Each individual, each agency, each publishing house has their own set of rules to “submit”. Any way you look at it, you need an invitation of some kind. And when you do finally put together the required material, read the definition above to make sure you understand what will be expected in the process. Now you understand why the process is called “Submissions”.
Titles, words, stories—if accepted—might not remain the way you initially intended. Yes, editors work with authors to insure the message, the gist, the purpose, the theme, the whatever you hoped to convey will stand strong in the story. You’ve read the interviews with three different professional editors on this site. You know their desire is to make your story the best it can be—and I think their primary reason for that is because they love stories. Secondly, they have a knack for knowing how to enhance, rearrange, or find weaknesses in stories. The best ones work closely and affectionately with their author friends, building a relationship alongside building the story.
But even they have to submit to the publishing powers, to fine tune the work to “fit” the intentions/needs of their houses. So you must find what is valuable to you as the author, what you can and can’t live without in the story, how you can compromise if necessary and when you can’t budge—if that’s the case. Where will submission be required?
Only the absolute beginner will insist his writing is flawless and sensational. Why? Because so few writers ever become flawless or sensational, that’s why. Some can tell a story better than others. Some have an indomitable style to draw readers like moths to night light. Fascinating, imaginative, lyrical, or just plain good—there are many kinds of writers. But some of us after completing a few novels realize this is how we tell stories, and chances are without a mighty work of our Lord’s hand, we aren’t going to change a whole lot. We’ve found our voice and our style, and while we seek to always improve our language and our stories, we are finally who we are.
So, this is where the submission process becomes a critical decision. We’ve talked here about so many things identifying who you are as a writer, as an author of fiction. Your motives now come into play. If you believe in the process of becoming a published author, you will fine tune and spit shine that query/proposal/synopsis/pitch, not to mention that manuscript, and get it to the right professional—their preference seems to be via a writer’s conference. You will do whatever it takes, and generally speaking for most people, it takes a lot. A lot of submission in all its various forms. For as long as it takes.
But it’s your decision. Who you ultimately submit to as a Christian is the Lord Jesus Christ. You follow what He has for you to do. And it might not involve the same kind of submission process another writer must do. That’s why you need to know who God wants you to be. Then . . . you submit to Him.
Father, I thank you for the path you’ve designed for me. Help me to submit to it willingly. Steadily. Obediently. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.