Whether Submitting a Manuscript or Selling a House, Growing a Thick Skin Is a Must

I’ve written several recent posts comparing selling my home to writing. With my house on the market, I’ve had numerous showings. Through this process I’ve realized that the feedback after showing a home to a potential buyer and the feedback after submitting a manuscript to a potential publisher and are surprisingly similar.

Each time my house is shown, the real estate agent for prospective buyers sends my realtor and myself feedback. When I first started getting this feedback, I realized it sounded very much like being rejected by a literary agent. One said, “Beautiful house but not right for buyers.” This reminded me of the rejection letter that says, “Great story, but not for us.” How many times have you received one of those? Probably too many times to count.

Another piece of feedback noted that while the house was lovely, the buyers wanted three bathrooms, not two. That comment made me think of an agent who doesn’t accept the science fiction genre, but a writer sends their story anyway. A rejection is sure to follow.

The comments always mention how clean the house is, sort of like saying how well formatted and free of typos your manuscript is. In either case – if your manuscript isn’t perfect or your house isn’t spotless – you’ll hear about it or get no response.

The big difference is the stress. I haven’t suffered undo stress when submitting a manuscript or getting rejected. I step away for a couple of days and submit again. With a house though, after every showing, the footprints left behind have to be scrubbed, the kitchen and bathrooms cleaned – and in the age of COVID-19 – all surfaces disinfected. It’s exhausting. I can honestly say submitting manuscripts isn’t so tiring that I want to curl up into a fetal position in bed and cover my head with pillows. But by the end of each day of showings I want to do exactly that.

Many of the editors I’ve worked with have said it only takes one agent to accept your work. And it only takes one buyer to fall in love with your house. True, but I just wish they would hurry up!

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