What to Do While Your Book is on Submission

By Katrin Schumann

I've been on submission many times over the years. It's fun, until it's not. Or... it's fun and then gets a lot more fun. Here's what I've learned.

1) Create a serene environment around you. Preferably light a candle first thing in the morning. Not one of those scented things called Enticing Aroma's Fall Festival or, god forbid, Pumpkin Spice. Something classy and reeking of intelligence, just like you.

2) Call a writer friend to share your excitement. Remain upbeat. Do not be tempted to do any of the following: whine, cry, ask for prayers, admit insecurity. Don't worry if you slip into any of the following: self-agrandizing, bloviating, or telling little white lies.

3) Manifest your greatness. This is a challenge when you're not feeling it but, come on, JUST DO IT. 

4) Stay off Twitter. If you MUST go on Twitter, only tweet--incessantly--about the fact that you will be sharing exciting news soon. Avoid reading tweets or links that have anything to do with writers, publishing, new books coming out, awards etc. Maintain, at all costs, your chirpy, friendly, can-do persona.

5) Should you feel less than chirpy, go to Whole Foods and buy an enormous amount of healthy food for lunch, eat it all, and then tell youself at least I ate something healthy. Ice cream is out but an entire bar of bitter, whoops I mean dark chocolate is in. 

6) Spend at least an hour a day doing something fabulous with your body. Yoga. Trialthlon training. Crossfit. Running. Tantric sex. It should be exhasuting, rewarding, and fantasic. If it is only exhausting and not rewarding or fantastic, do your best not to injure yourself. If you injure yourself do your best not to blame yourself for being uptight or for trying too hard. Remember that if you are uptight or trying too hard, you will manifest failure (remember The Secret? In a nutshell: It's all your fault.)

7) Work. Just do it. Do not faff about (great English term for wasting-inordinate-amounts-of-time-while-appearing-to-be-utterly-carefree). If your mind wanders, do 100 push ups or pullups or something that seems impossible and painful and will knock you right back down to earth.

8) Become superstitious. Note that what may at first seem like a bad omen (bats moving into your home, a bird sh*tting on your head) are actually GOOD omens (bats = wealth is coming! Bird sh*t = good luck is around the corner!). Get this: If you put your pants on inside out, it's not because you're losing your mind with worry about your writing abilities and your career, it's becuase you'll be receiving favorable news, and soon! 

9) At the end of the day (never, EVER for lunch or before 4:59 PM), drink wine. For once, quality is not important, quantity is. 

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About the Author

Katrin Schumann is the author of The Forgotten Hours (Lake Union, 2019), a Washington Post bestseller; This Terrible Beauty, a novel about the collision of love, art and politics in 1950s East Germany (March, 2020); and numerous nonfiction titles. She is the program coordinator of the Key West Literary Seminar. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and in the MA prison system, through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. Her work has been featured on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, as well as other national and international media outlets, and she has a regular column on GrubWrites. Katrin can also be found at, and on Twitter and Instagram: @katrinschumann.

See other articles by Katrin Schumann

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