Wednesday, October 1, 2014

There are Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Trying to get traditionally published is like dating.

You find a likely prospect. He says something flattering about the shape of your line. On the surface he looks pretty good. He's got a handsome veneer, a nice cover and an attractive website. You get a good feeling when he smiles at you. Kind of tingly.

But you've been burned before, so you do a bit of research, asking friends what they think of him, googling him. You check warning sites like Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors so you know it if he has a history of abuse or dishonesty.

Then, you dive in. You share your heart and hope it doesn't get broken.

In that same vein, having your writing rejected is a lot like being dumped.

You put yourself out there, but for some reason it doesn't click. Maybe it's mutual and you feel a sense of having dodged a bullet.

More likely, you are hurt. You overanalyze, trying to understand why he dumped you. Were you lacking in some way? Was it him? Only rarely does the Dear John letter tell you anything other than "not what we're looking for right now," so you might not ever know why.

When you dish with your girlfriends, you talk about the other fish in the sea, and how it's his loss.  You let them cheer you, even if part of you thinks it might be you.

But you're still looking for love, so you decide to try again. In secret, you work to make yourself that much better. You work out, lifting heavy verbs and sculpting careful sentences. You polish your craft and try new things; you stretch yourself and grow.

You do the dance many times before you find the one. Sometimes, it's hard to put yourself out there again. You have to fight cynicism and despair and keep hoping. But you're tough. You're a believer. You persevere.

Then you find him. And it's wonderful. You find that audience you've sought for so long. Or maybe it isn't exactly the way you imagined, but it's still lovely in its way.

But you don't just get married and ride off into the sunset together. The right publisher for one piece is not right for another. You'll need more than one beau to escort you to all the balls you want to attend. So, even when you've found a beau you have to keep dating.

If you're lucky, some of those beaus remain in your corner your whole life. Others turn out to have been fleeting romances, and they end, sweetly or angrily. But you go on.

Because there are a lot of fish in the sea. And you're going to catch a big one. I know it.

This posting is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To check out other posts by writers in a variety of places in their careers, check out the participant list. This group is one of the most open and supportive groups of people I have ever been associated with. You should check them out!

I give permission for IWSG to use this post in the anthology.


  1. Hah! That was awesome. I super love this analogy.

  2. Super post, Samantha. You are so right. There are a lot of fish in the sea.

  3. Love the line about lifting heavy verbs and sculpting careful sentences. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  4. there are indeed many fish out there and today, thank goodness, there's also the option of becoming vegetarian and stop fishing all together (and by that I mean go indie, LOL) ;-) but that of course doesn't mean one should stop trying, it's all about finding what works best for each book. :-)

    1. So true! Though, if you go indie, you're still fishing: for reviews, readers, distribution . . .

  5. "It's not you, it's me." Publishing is exactly like dating. Finding the right match takes effort. You might have to kiss a lot of frogs, who are only frogs, before you find the prince!
    Great analogy.
    Play off the Page

    1. LOL. That's perfect . .. and sometimes it's really true--it's them! not you!

  6. Fun comparison! And you're absolutely right!

  7. I love your analogy! Thanks for your contribution to the ebook. It is going to be a great resource for writers.

    Great to visit today as a co-host of IWSG.

  8. I love your analogy. Just like dating, you have to find the one that sees your particular brand of awesomeness.
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

  9. Great analogy. Just like dating, finding publishing partners is soooo subjective.

  10. This kind of dating is also much cheaper!
    Thanks for contributing to the book.

  11. This will make a great addition to the book.
    I love the analogy.

  12. This brought a smile to my face! Very fun contribution. Even if self publishing, readers are like dates too - some might not click with us and leave a less than great review, but that's OK. We can't be a match for everyone!

  13. Thanks so much. I felt clever when I thought of this analogy. I'm glad you guys thought I was clever, too :-)

  14. haha! I love this analogy. As Dori once said, "Just keep swimming!" ;) You will find your dream fish, promise... <3


  15. Yeah. There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but how do you know when you're using the right bait or you need to tweak it? ;)

    Great to meet you.

  16. his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work.
    sea fight astuce