The next step is finding an agent since most of the publications you are seeking are only accessible through an agent. This is from a very savvy lady...most submissions not agented wind up in the slush pile. Good grief. Can't I just go back to writing for pleasure?
Nope. You write those queries and write those synopses, and discover they aren't as easy to write as everyone keeps telling you. I know. I have friends in high places, gals who are published, gals who have been on the best seller lists, gals whose books are sold out as they are being put on the shelves. (double-sigh)
Finally! After wrestling those alligators, you find a very special agent who loves your work, can't say enough good things about your talent, knows the perfect publishing company for your baby. Ah, perfection. The editor gushes, admires, says she can't wait to publish your work because she loves it so much she can't stand it. And you're, as the saying goes, "in like Flint". (Sorry if you're too young to remember it.) It just means you've got it made, gal. You're in there and dreaming of schmoozing with the big guys, of winning the Rita, of being on Times Best Seller lists, the USA best seller lists and any number of other prestigious lists that will make your name synonymous with The Nora's name. Aha. Yes, you've made it. Until...
Your editor decides your antagonist must go. Pick a substitute. Your secondary character should be ramped up and have more coverage. Your YA heroine, instead of being a teenager on the verge of finding new life in her sheltered world, is to join an arts and crafts shop with other silly teens. The life altering changes in her world are to be taken out and replaced with giggling teeny-boppers without one brain between them. Her best friend is switched from an angst ridden girl to a happy, happy, happy ball of fluff without a personality, without problems, without deep feelings. The hero seems to have slipped through the cracks in deference to the secondary character who the editor seems to have fallen in love with. (Geez! Give me that long awaited break, for Pete's sake.)
What a letdown. How can you go along with something that will take your entire plot, characters, conflicts and make them your editor's plot, characters, conflicts? Is this what you've worked so hard for? Spent time away from your family for? Given them Hamburger Helper and peanut butter sandwiches night after night instead of healthy from scratch food fare for? (Don't try to decipher that last sentence, but if you do, let me know what it means.) Do you allow someone, a stranger, to take it all away because you think she knows best? After all, she is an editor and you're not. Do you succumb to this barbaric deflowering of your special work simply because you want to be published at any cost? Because you need the money? Because you have signed a contract? Because your agent says it's best for you? Because...well, just because...?
Trust your instincts about your writing and know there is a simple solution to this blatant attack on your talent. Okay, it's become a cliché, but it's such an important cliché. It epitomizes the ordinary to spectacular. JUST SAY NO. It's okay. The editor is a human being, not a god. The agent is human, not an icon. (Feel free to disagree with me at any time.)
All in all, it's okay to say no especially if your child is on the verge of being sent to a bad plastic surgeon to be altered for all time. Would you allow your child to undergo a boobie job at age fourteen? How about a nose job at age ten? Or liposuction at the tender age of two when bodies are prone to baby fat? Would you allow anyone to annihilate your child? Of course not. So, why would you consider changing your entire imagination for a total stranger?
I say put your foot down, and say NO, NO, NO!!!! I have a friend, (one of many) a much pubbed author on best seller lists who fired her first agent. She found out they were not compatible and it was a hard decision for her to make, but turned out to be the best one to make. She is now published with a NY publisher and has several trilogies and an impressive multi-book deal under her belt.
One last thought. There are many agents/editors out there who will see your lovely talent and want to keep it intact with few, but simple changes. Get busy and find the right one for you, the one who will not want you to radically restructure your work of art. I'm back to writing for pleasure and relaxation now. The pressure is off, thank heaven. Happy writing my friends, and good luck to you!