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How Many Frogs?

After a year of writing in the wee hours of the morning, the darkest hours of the night and any space of time I could steal between composing and recording the song that goes with the book, working, home schooling, cooking, gardening, church and so on, I finally finished my third novel – Who I Am.

And so now it’s time to dust off my “rubber suit” and start submitting – again. After re-writing, proofreading, editing, formatting, etc, my manuscript is all spiffy and ready to be published. As I started to assemble my list of prospective publishers and agents I looked it over and wondered, how many queries will it take before I finally find the right agent and/or publisher. How many rejections will I have to endure before I stumble upon the person/publisher who will be willing to represent my work?

So what does querying have to do with frogs? More than one might think. The fictitious princess searching for a handsome prince, much like an author with an unpublished manuscript, has her work cut out for her.

First: She must scan the plethora of potential frogs, studying all those bulbous eyes, hind legs disproportionate to the front and lethal tongues all appearing equally as likely to produce a prince, while just as unlikely to be anything more than a simple creature who eats flies. And which one to choose first? Small and agile, or large and ostentatious? Smaller is better, less to kiss, but larger may produce a more appealing prince with prominent social connections.

 

Amphibians, like publishers and agents are all very similar at first glance. All touting the many accomplishments of the writers they have chosen, encouraging would-be authors to send in their manuscripts like that’s all it will take to secure representation.

Second: Once a princess has decided which frog to start with she must hold the creature tightly and decide the best way to smooch it. But what if the frog has some of his own ideas about kissing and she ends up puckering to his tune rather than hers? What else can she do? So she does as the frog requires, checking and double checking to ensure that she has followed the frogs instructions, puckers, closes her eyes and lets the frog have it – right on the lips – even though the frog doesn’t really have any to speak of.

One publisher I queried asked to see my entire manuscript. Only first, I had to go through and cut ALL the adverbs. No small task as you can imagine and with no guarantees that if I do so the ms will be accepted. But, I will admit that the narrations read much better without the superfluous verbiage and I might just write without them from now on.

Third: Then she waits. And waits. And waits some more. And she wonders, how long do I hold this slimy little creature until I know? She steals glances at her would-be prince checking for any little change by day and lies awake at night too excited by the prospect of finding her true love to sleep until the anticipation finally takes its toll. She sighs thinking how much easier it would be if she could just ask the frog if he is her prince, or if he could, at the very least, give her some kind of hint as to how long it will take for him to reveal his true self. But alas, the princess is forbidden to inquire and the frog seems more than happy to keep her in the dark as long as he possibly can.

Another publisher responded in a form email to my query informing me that their review period was eight to ten months. Incase you’re thinking that I must have miss-typed, I’ll repeat – eight to ten MONTHS for a reply.

Fourth: The disappointment that sets in once the princess learns that the frog she has kissed with such high hopes is nothing more than what he appeared to be – a frog, and not her happily-ever-after.

Hence, the “rubber suit.”

Fifth: She looks around at the endless array of frogs, exhausted by the fruitless process she has just endured, daunted by the task, by the probability of another disappointment and asks: Why am I doing this again?

Well, I can’t answer for the princess. I mean, it is the twenty-first century and although it would be nice, women don’t exactly need a handsome prince to be happy these days. But I’m not a princess, just an unknown author with a great manuscript that just happens to have a title track to go with it, and if I want to get published I suppose I’m gonna have to do like the princess – pucker up and kiss some frogs.

Click HERE to listen to the songWho I Am – 2010 1

Music: Aaron McBride and Brad Hull.

Lyrics: Brad Hull, Aaron McBride and Julie N Ford.

Vocals: Lisa Montes