That Thing That Must Not Be Named–Being on Sub!

There’s not a ton of info floating around on the subject of being on submission as an author, and there is a reason for that!

My fav quote I’ve stumbled on regarding sub: “Sub is a lot like fight club. The first rule of being on sub: we do not talk about being on sub.”

We all have our own style, and I’m not all that superstitious, to be honest. Sub is what it is. It’s not life or death, people. It’s WRITING. For goodness sake, chillax! We’re lucky we got this far! That being said, I will abide by sub rule and I won’t talk about the process in depth until I have a book deal. I know it’s best to stay quiet. As of this moment, my MS is bright and shiny and in the best shape it’s ever been! Seriously. It’s like my MS was looking great, but then Carrie and I became its personal trainer, took it to the gym for circuits, yoga, and then a trip to the juice bar, and now it’s in prime fighting shape yet also super centered, cleansed, hydrated and energized.

Once we have a deal I will probably do a series of blogs about publishing. That’s when I’ll discuss how the sub process went for me, how I handled it (spoiler alert: not well), and all the currently unknown stuff that I can’t even pretend to know yet because it’ll all come after I’ll sign a pub contract.

For now I will say this:

Sub is basically querying, 2.0. There are a lot of authors that find sub worse than querying. I definitely don’t. When you go on sub, you have the support of your agent, and when you’re querying you’re on your own which SUCKS SO HARD I HATED QUERYING HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS I STILL HAVE ALL THE NIGHTMARES.

Of course, it is hard not to take it personally when people pass on your MS.

But *I came up with a way to look at it that makes the whole sub process feel way less personal. You know when you’re talking to a friend, and they’re telling you about this beautiful dress they found in a shop that they think would be perfect for you? They describe it like this:

“It’s pastel floral print! So summery, with a sweetheart neckline and these gorgeous little lace details down the side. The skirt’s all flowy and girly, the waist is cinched, and it’s super short.”

You can picture the dress. It’s everything you ever dreamed!

Then you go to the store and try it on. It’s a pretty dress, just not for you, and when you finally manage to zip it up it doesn’t fit right. The sweetheart neckline isn’t so much sweetheart as it is high cut. It hugs your hips in the wrong places and comes down well past your knees on your short frame. Face it: you’re a hemline away from being Amish.

It’s a bit like that famous scene in 500 Days of Summer: Expectations vs. Reality.

Expectation.                             Reality.
See? Still a great dress, and would look beautiful on someone else. Just isn’t exactly your style, or how you envisioned it would look on you.

That’s kind of how it is when your MS receives a pass. Sometimes, it just doesn’t match what someone had in mind.

*this dress analogy was actually my mom’s analogy. She said I could use it on my blog and take all the credit.

It’s Totally Okay to Love YA. And Hanson.

About a month ago an article hit the internet (and made quite a splash) saying how people should feel ashamed for reading YA. I’m not even going to try to top some of the eloquent rebuttals written on the topic. I will say this: when I first read the article, I didn’t feel the same rage and fury as many others. I felt stung and annoyed, sure, but then I just shrugged and went back to reading my (YA) book.

No, I don’t possess some magic shield that protects me from getting irrationally angry. Unfortunately, I’m just very used to being picked on for something I’m passionate about that society deems immature.

Hello. My name is Beth, and I’m a Hanson fan that also loves reading YA. Try that one on for size.

Yes. Hanson. Mmmbop. These guys.

 

And I get laughed at. A lot.

Full disclosure: here’s the majority (sans all my shirts/keychains/jewelry/trinkets) of my Hanson collection:

(hard to see everything, but this entire drawer is crammed full of their CDs/DVDs/etc…oh, and I won that trivia game!)

When it comes to the whole “You should be embarrassed for liking this” argument, I promise you, I’ve been there since 1997. And I’ve heard it all:

“Hanson is seriously still around??” (yes–they went indie in 2003 after a long-ass battle w/their record label–a label that was trying to turn them into the Backstreet Boys. They’ve put out original new music every year since.)
“I thought they were girls?” (no)
“You actually PAY to see them? Seriously??” (yes)
“Don’t they all have like a hundred kids now??” (er, not exactly a hundred…)
“Aren’t you even the slightest bit embarrassed? Because you should be. Hanson are a bunch of little *insert hateful slur here* (no)
“Mmmbop?? More like MMMSUCK!” (ooh. good one. I’ve never heard that before.)
“You do know you’re not thirteen anymore, right??” (yes.)

For the record, the guys (and their fans) don’t exist in some time vacuum. We all grew up. They look like this now:

 

 

It doesn’t bother me when someone expresses genuine interest that Hanson are “still around.” I’m aware it seems they’ve been off the radar for many years. It’s the petty comments and name-calling I could live without.

I’m sad to admit I’ve second-guessed my decisions to wear one of my Hanson shirts in public, because I’ve gotten the eye-rolls and the snickers, and it’s even worse while waiting on line at a venue to see them. Here is just a small sampling of the jeers that I’ve personally experienced on line:

Scenario One

Two mothers (with their very young children) “Who’re you here to see?”
Fans: “Hanson.”
Two mothers: *point* *laugh* “That is SO sad!” *off-key versions of Mmmbop ensue*
Young children: *laughing even though they probably have no idea what’s going on*

Scenario Two

Two thirty-something guys in business suits: “Hey, who’s playing?”
Fans: “Hanson.”
Two thirty-something guys in business suits: *throw heads back and laugh uproariously*

Scenario Three
Middle-aged man, smiling politely: “Who’s playing tonight, girls?”
Fans, smiling back: “Hanson.”
Middle-aged man: *Hysterical laughing* “Mmmbop? Seriously? You mean they’re still around?”
Fans: *gesturing to the line that goes on for blocks* “Yes.”
Middle-aged man: “Wow. You seriously need to grow up.”

Scenario Four

Car drives by and slows at the marquee. Driver honks until we turn around. Window rolls down. Girl pokes her head out the passenger side and screams “Hanson?? Seriously? Those LOSERS??? You sorry little bunch of ass**** They SUCK!!!!”

Let there never be a doubt: I am here to tell you that, yes, there is still a Hanson fan base out there. SERIOUSLY. If you still don’t believe me, this is a picture from a Rolling Stone article , taken just this past September, 2013, at their sold out House of Blues show in Boston.

My point: when you’ve quietly endured all of the above half your life, it makes reading a YA novel in public a walk in the park.

Labels like “YA” and “boy bands” are lame. Labels tend to create stigmas, and stigmas spur Judgy McJudgingtons on to spew their negativity all over our happy place.

So, yes, I know that Slate article was a bummer. It really was. If you found yourself riled up by someone saying you should be ashamed to read YA, or that it makes you immature–I’ve been there, and it’s just not worth it. Anyone who belittles you and proceeds to name-call regarding your hobbies is the immature one. No matter how hard you try and defend it, no matter how many facts you pull out about best-sellers, or the impact YA has had on the reading community and publishing industry, you’ll never convince the author of that article (or anyone not into YA) about the sheer power of YA.

Just shrug it off, smile (trust me–this smiling thing drives the haters craaazzyyy), and bury your nose in a great YA book. That’s what I’ll be doing the next time I wait on line to see Hanson.

I <3 Long Island

I realized something the other day. All my MCs are from Long Island. I worried that this isn’t normal, but then I remembered that a lot of my favorite authors do this. Nearly every Harlan Coben mystery takes place in New Jersey, and Sarah Dessen’s fictional beach town of Colby was the home for more than half her books.

I think it’s fine, since I’ve lived here my whole life! and here are some pictures of some LI places I visited on Monday.

 

^^ I already posted a pic of Jones Beach Ampitheater when I did my Love List , but the above is a picture I actually took myself Monday (I’m quite proud of it!) I can’t explain how magical it is to see a concert here. My MS has a really fun scene where the MC and her love interest see a show here, and I really hope I did it justice!

 

^^ another Jones Beach staple that makes an appearance in my MS. This is the Jones Beach pencil shaped water tower that you kind of have to drive around to get past.

 

^^ It looks like NO ONE was on the beach but it was actually quite crowded (I took these photos from the Long Beach boardwalk overlooking the beach) if you look closely you can see some ships out in the distance.

 

^ ^ ^ Ariel’s rock when she’s promising herself someday she’ll be part of Eric’s world. A really cool rock.

 

I love this place!! I usually only go once a year–one time in the summer–and it’s the only time I like/eat fried food. I get the fried scallops and fried shrimp and french fries and cole slaw and then spend the rest of the year working out.

So that was my day on Monday!! Happy 4th of July weekend!

Do you find the majority of your MCs live in the same town?