It's a love affair between an author and a publisher — an intimate long-term relationship with a paperback child in the middle!
Just like Dating...
You get... an email, a voicemail, a tweet... and your heart pounds. The "potential" races through your head of a wonderful relationship and the smile does not leave your face. You schedule a call or meeting and you talk. You hit it off. You appreciate what each other brings to the table. All and all you resonate with each other's energy and it feels like a "great fit." You walk on clouds for days, keeping this amazing collaboration to yourself for fear of jinxing the yet-to-be-signed going-steady deal.
Then... time passes after the "date." You realize you're just one of the many players on the field, and the others are all, well, a lot bigger, richer, and more powerful than you (albeit less loving!). So you tell yourself — whatever is meant to be, I want the best for them, I want them to be happy and reap the most rewards.
Then... you get the flowers. An absolutely gorgeous bouquet. And your heart is warmed when you listen to the "break-up voicemail" and hear the incredible news — they met the match of their dreams! And, just as great — you now have a new friend, and a phenomenal matchmaking-agent with lots of other wonderful suitors. Thank you to everyone involved... it was a very magical date!
P.S. I googled "publishing is like dating" and found the funniest piece from author Kit Whitfield. The whole article is a must-read, here are few of my favorite ways she suggests publishing is like dating with the advice she gives to writers:
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Imagine that the editor or literary agent is a woman standing on her own in a bar...
You say: 'I know you don't usually accept unsolicited manuscripts, but please, just have a look at this.'
Dating equivalent: 'I know you're married, but please, just go out with me once.'
You say: 'I've been turned down by all the agencies I've tried, so I've decided to approach publishers directly.'
Dating equivalent: 'All my ex-girlfriends/boyfriends have taken out restraining orders against me, so I thought I'd ask you instead.'
You say: 'I'd like this book to get publication and a movie deal.'
Dating equivalent: 'Hello, I'd like a lover who's willing to die for me.'
You say: 'I self-publish/post on the internet, and I've had some good feedback.'
Dating equivalent: 'The prostitutes I sleep with tell me I'm good in bed.'
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Okay, that last one is a little harsh, and I completely disagree, but it made me laugh out loud.