Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Waiting Game

Lately I've observed that quite a few of my fellow writers have taken that brave, brave step we all hope to make someday: querying literary agents. Yikes. I have yet to tackle it myself, but I've heard that the whole process is one big, ugly, scary beast, no matter how many times you face it. Even the jargon is intimidating; queries, partials, fulls, exclusives, contracts... Ugh! I can see why so many people opt for the self-publication route. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to take my manuscript to the nearest Kinko's and hand out copies of it outside Barnes and Noble.

But no. I, like many of you, have chosen to take the road less traveled by. The traditional route, with all its wrinkles and hangups and inefficiencies. Say what you will about traditional publishing--it's still the best thing we've got, at least for the time being (although if Nathan Bransford's post today is any indication, that may change sooner rather than later).

As I read about each writer's querying experience, they all touched in some way on the agony of waiting, which was often compounded by the sting of rejection whenever it came. All of them also had different ways of coping while they waited. Debra "kept on truckin'" with other writing projects, while Michelle made light of the situation with hand drawn pictures and a fun discussion with her blog followers. When things didn't go in his favor, Jon kept his perspective by looking at the bigger picture.

Personally, I found all of their stories inspiring in different ways. They made me think about how I'll handle the inevitable waiting that happens during every part of the publication process. I hope when my time comes, I'll have the patience and grace to cope with it as well as these writers do.

What about you? Are you playing the waiting game right now? How are you coping? How do you plan to cope when it's your turn?


  1. Hey! My best advice is this: never stop writing. As soon as you finish your book, take yourself out to dinner and then start another. There's a whole bunch of good reasons for this. There's an inevitable learning curve to "the process," there's a lot of waiting involved, but most importantly, you'll keep getting better the more you keep writing. Good luck!

  2. Another mention? I'm blushing - or is it that my hair is on fire with my brain overloading as I wait for a hear-back. Oh well...

    Thanks for linking me!

  3. Thanks, Jon! I'll be sure to remember that. I'm a naturally impatient person, so I'm sure I'll have to stay busy writing just to keep sane! Anyway, good luck to you as well :-)

  4. Hey, Michelle! I hope you're just blushing. I'd hate to contribute to your hair being on fire! LOL!

  5. I've played the waiting game before and it's agonizing. I'll be playing it again with this next manuscript.

  6. You just do it because it's what writers do.
    From writing the book, figuring out what should go in the query (you know, make the book exciting without sounding like a droning idiot), tussle with a synopsis, check that manuscript one more time for typos (don't you get that strong urge to check it one more time when they give you a request?), and then start another book while you wait.
    It's what we do.
    So, do it!

  7. Hang in there, Melissa! This is the stuff that separates the adults from the kiddies. Good luck! I hope you wind up with plenty of ms requests :-)

  8. Aimless Writer,
    Very well said. We're writers; no matter what, we've gotta keep on writing. Sometimes that's easier said than done, but I suppose there comes a point when you just have to make it happen.

  9. LurkerMonkey gives wise advice, Grasshopper. :) Still in revisions myself, but as soon as i send it out, I'm starting on the next book.

  10. Angie,
    He does, doesn't he? And I'm happy to accept it, both from him and any other writers who have been there before, including you! Good luck with your revisions :-)