Nine years ago, I had a feeling that my then-boyfriend was going to propose. And he did! Last year, that feeling returned, but it had nothing to do with marriage or proposals.
No, last Valentine’s Day my agent sent my manuscript for Good Chinese Wife to eight editors at publishing houses. It wasn’t the first time she had submitted it to editors, but we both had a feeling that it could be the last.
Carrie chose Valentine’s Day to send out Good Chinese Wife because the winter holidays were over and a fresh year was ahead. She also chose February 14th to submit my manuscript to editors because, given the context of the story, it’s a dark take on a bright holiday.
The previous year, during the first two rounds of submission, we received some great feedback even though they were all rejections. It might seem daunting to receive a dozen rejections, but 1) it’s a normal part of publishing and 2) the editors all had great things to say about the story.
The main problem, according to most, was that I was holding back, or not revealing enough. One even suggested I turn my book into a novel if that would make it easier for me to write the more uncomfortable parts.
But Carrie and I both agreed that Good Chinese Wife should stay a memoir. It was clear, though, that I had to reveal more in the story if it were ever to be published. So I hunkered down for another round of revisions. By early January, she and I were both confident with the new manuscript. All we had to do was wait until February 14th.
I clearly remember talking to her ten days after Valentine’s Day. She reiterated her feeling that the manuscript was there. I felt the same way. A few hours later, she phoned me back–with an offer!
The submission process can be nerve-wracking, especially after that first rejection. But if we had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love my publisher, Sourcebooks, and am so pleased with the way the book has turned out.
If you have questions about publishing, especially the submission process, leave a note in the comments.
Happy Valentine’s Day!