Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Books and Dating

I have lots of reading to do (as per usual) but I have some time while my turkey burgers are cooking, so you get this lovely blog post to read. It's not any of the blogs I promised, but those are coming. Eventually. For now, you'll have to make do with this little ditty that keeps coming up in my mind.

I was joking with one of my colleagues today about the guy she's dating. Things aren't working out and she wasn't sure what to do. I said, "we write rejection letters every day. Why don't you just write him a letter to tell him you're passing on the relationship." We laughed at the time, but it brought up a thought I've had in the past. The publishing process, from an editorial standpoint, is a lot like dating. So here is a list citing the similarities. It's was meant to be humorous, but it really ended up being not as funny and really very true. It might provide some insight for those looking to go into editorial or maybe even for authors aspiring to be published. And maybe it'll help me gain some perspective on why I seem to be perpetually single (no seriously - put the A.P.B. out. I'm single and ready to mingle, if you'll pardon that old cliche).

Without further ado:

#1 ~ You're going to meet a lot of guys/read a lot of submissions before you find the right one.
-----#1a ~ In the beginning, this is partially because you need to figure out what you're really looking for.
-----#1b ~ It's also because there are just a lot of options and it's part of the experience. Not every guy or project is going to be right for every person and it's all about finding the one that fits the best.

#2 ~ Sometimes you're going to find the guy/author you think is absolutely perfect for you and they're going to think some other guy/editor is a better fit for them. That's life. Just be happy for them, wish them well and move on graciously. You'll find someone else to date/work with and who knows, maybe that other guy/author will come back sometime down the road if things don't work out.

#3 ~ This kinda goes with #2 a bit, but sometimes things just don't work out. There could be many different factors, but in the end it just doesn't happen. It can be sad for one or both parties, but it's just life.

#4 ~ Networking works, whether it be through already established connections, the internet, or other means. For example, I made friends with a woman at a book signing who later became a coworker, who introduced me to an editor she worked with who edited the books I loved to read. She introduced me to the editor who sat next to her, who introduced me to agent she knew when I eventually got my editing job. That agent later suggested me to the agent for my first acquisition. So far internet dating hasn't worked for me (I met one guy and it didn't work out, but we're still friends - but two of my former roommates met their significant others on OKCupid.com and one of those roommates is now married to the guy she met).

#5 ~ There are going to be times when your friends/colleagues don't think this guy/project is the right fit. If you see something they don't, it's OK to keep pushing to try and find a way to make it work, but if they're right and it's not going to work out, it's best to just listen to them and not drag things out.

#6 ~ Sometimes you need to work on things before you're ready to establish a relationship. If the relationship is worth it and the work is reasonable, it's often worth it to put the time in beforehand. It can lead to great things in the future.

#7 ~ Sometimes it takes negotiation and compromise before you can settle into a relationship. The key is to know what you want, what your deal breakers are and what you're willing to sacrifice to establish this relationship. Again, sometimes it doesn't work out, but other times you can come to an agreement that you're both happy with

#8 ~ Once a relationship has been established, it takes a lot of work to maintain. There will be a lot of criticism, a lot of compromising, and probably more negotiating. But this is true throughout more than just dating and editing - the more work you put into the relationship (and the book), the better the outcome.


Anonymous said...

LOL on this whole funny but true list, as it's very similar from the author perspective, too.

Hey, if only you lived in Buffalo... I have many potentials for you. Um, guys, not manuscripts!

Glad your back on the blog. :-)

Jennifer Brown said...

Yay! A new blog entry! I'm loving this... especially #4. Whoa... it was meant to be! ;-)

MF said...

Ah crap, there's an editorial equivalent of He's Just Not That Into You, isn't there? So "Great premise, would like stronger characters" doesn't mean rewrite and resend. It means I'm not hot enough, end of story.

jody! said...

three cheers for this entry! i completely agree.

nicely put, t. s.

Tracy Marchini said...

Great post, TS!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Anonymous said...

This entry is great. I recently broke up with someone by telling him that I just didn't think it was "the right fit." Which I later realized I'd gotten from the rejection letters I used to write as an intern- "your manuscript just isn't the right fit for our list." Yikes!

alvina said...

I love this!

Another similarity: you never know when magic is going to strike--when you're going to meet that guy or gal, or read that manuscript that you fall in love with.

Some differences: it's perfectly acceptable to get together with a manuscript that you want to change. Not so much with a relationship.

Also, as the editor, you're going to be a polygamist.

Tara Maya said...

Sara Raasch has a funny video chat on her site about this. IT's the first video, "Dating an Agent."

sraasch said...

So, so, so agree. The parallel between dating and agenting is just too convenient. I did a video blog on it not too long ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgnlKBqIG18

And the biggest similarity: problems in both relationships and publishing/agenting/editing can be fixed with chocolate.

sraasch said...

Haha, thanks for the tag, Tara Maya! Great minds think alike (and have excellent timing) :)

ZC said...

you're the cutest and i loves you.

. said...

I'm writing a graphic novel about online dating -- www.datingaddict.blogspot.com -- and am thinking how this publishing process is sooo similar!! I am looking for that ONE editor who "gets it" and doesn't say that books about dating are "dated", just because SHE is married...so if you know any editors who might have a soft spot for a book about online dating...let me know...

Maya said...

At least SOMEONE has successful OKcupid tales!