On the Waiting Thing

Photo credit: Spojení on Flickr
NOTE: Hi, all! Once you enjoy this post, I'm also over at Adventures in YA Publishing talking about the essentials of a pitch. Feel free to stop by and say hi! :) 

I think I knew, intellectually, that getting agented or getting a book deal wasn’t going to end the waiting game. The publishing world is one that forces people to develop patience—or at least teaches them how not to go crazy while being impatient. Or find really good distractions. Or something.

But writers do a lot of waiting.

  • We wait between drafts before revising. 
  • We wait to hear feedback from critique partners. 
  • We wait to hear back from agents while querying. 
  • We wait to hear feedback from our agents when sending them a new manuscript. 
  • We wait to hear from editors while on submission. 
  • We wait to be able to announce happy news when we get it. 
  • We wait for publishing contracts to be negotiated after verbally agreeing to have your book published. 
  • We wait for $ to come in after contracts are signed. 
  • We wait for edits to begin. 
  • We wait to see our cover comps. 
  • We wait to be able to share the final cover with the world. 
  • We wait for the next round of edits. 
  • We wait for our box of ARCs to arrive. 
  • We wait for early reviews and blurbs to come in. 
  • We wait for the fated day of finished copies to arrive. 
  • We wait for release day. 
  • And we do it all over again with the next book. 

Probably that doesn’t even cover all of the waiting, but it’s a nice chunk of the prominent waiting writers do.

I think maybe I hoped that waiting post-agent and post-book deal would be a little easier because at least I’d know what was going on, buuuut turns out that’s not entirely true either. Kind of like pre-agent and pre-book deal, I have a general sense of Things Happening, and know the landmarks of the general process, but when people ask me specific questions about the future, I usually can’t give anything more than an estimate. Which is fine. Because if there’s anything taking eight years to get agented has taught me, it’s how to be patient.

I think probably the funniest realization I’ve had so far with this publishing thing is how much things change and yet, you as a writer don’t really feel any different. The waiting stuff still feels pretty much exactly the same, and granted while I’ve got some extra exciting things to look forward to (yay!), the in-between part is still very much about keeping distracted while waiting.

Best distractions of course are other projects. Or breaks, when you need them. Or books. Or catch up work or a million other things. But ultimately waiting is something that we, as writers, have to learn to deal with. Because no matter what stage of the process you’re in, there will always be more.

What do you do to distract yourself when waiting?

Twitter-sized bite:
Writer @Ava_Jae says the waiting game never really changes. What do you think? (Click to tweet)

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