At the moment I'm editing my novel, Storms in Teacups, for submission. When you first start to write a book and you only have a few thousand words under your belt, submitting feels like a finish line. You write your first draft, edit, edit, and edit again. You rewrite parts that aren't working, cut sub-plots that seem to go nowhere and then shove it in an envelope and send it off. Alas, it's not quite so simple.
First you have to research your agents. I've drawn up a list of around fifteen agents, and each wants to be approached in a different way. Most want to be approached in a standard way in the British Isles, which is a packet sent by post that contains a cover letter, synopsis and the first three chapters of my novel. Each agent has different ideas on how long this synopsis should be, so I have to write different synopses for each one. All cover letters have to be personalised, generic letters are apparently a big no-no. Then I have to write a query letter for agents who like to be approached by that method. All this takes an unbelievably long time.
Now, the one thing that query letters and synopses have in common is that they both involve distilling the essence of your novel down to a page or two, and convince the person reading it that they need to read this book. This is hard. Added to this is the fact that hundreds of hours of work have gone into your novel, yet it's fate hinges on just one piece of paper. This is nerve-wracking like writing a CV (or resume) for a job that you really want. Which, when you think about it, is exactly what it is.
With all this serious writing, I'm looking forward to getting back to some proper fiction writing in June. How do all of you find the submission process?