|18yo me with Sylvester McCoy|
Submitting it seemed the logical step (I wish in some ways I could be as naive and innocent as back then). I knew zip about publishing - I got the address of the publisher from the back of one of my many Doctor Who books and just sent it off (I had looked up how to format it and took the time to do so, so not completely ignorant). I got a very nice rejection letter (I wasn't disappointed because I'd expected nothing), full of constructive criticism (something you'd be unlikely to get now. Years later my husband was at a signing for a well known horror author (Graham Joyce) who told him my 'rejection' was pretty much a 'revise and re-submit'!). The simple fact of a response, and one full of advice and compliments on my writing stayed with me for years, even though it took me another two decades to finish another MS.
When I did finish that second story - again, a frenzied few weeks of scribbling after years of not writing - I faced the same dilemma. Did I stuff it in a drawer or try for publication? This time I had the internet to turn to for guidance, and I had the bonus luck of another new author who took me under her wing. She told me the bare-faced reality of today's publishing, that it wasn't the gateway to instant fame and fortune, that luck and hard work were as important as talent, that there are plenty of scammers out there waiting to take your money, that not everyone will love your book...she saved me from a lot of mistakes and cushioned many of the blows.