I remember the first time I got a request for a manuscript. I thought this is it, man. The big time. Money. Fame. A Charlie Rose interview.
I sent off my manuscript and then I waited and waited and waited. It was worse than meeting a cute boy when I was younger, giving him my phone number and then waiting for the call, which never came.
Now when I query, I don’t wait. I write.
If you want to be published and your last name isn’t King, Grisham or Patterson or some of those other people on the Amazon bestsellers list, the reality is you’re probably going to have to wait. Like waiting for an agent to decide whether he or she will represent you, or for a publisher to get back to your agent or you. The great thing about the industry today is that you don’t have to wait a week for your letter to get where it’s going. There’s email. But that doesn’t necessarily speed up the wait. (Although it is a bummer to get a rejection email five minutes after you sent a query. It’s like Ouch!)
This all takes time so don’t let it get to you. Don’t check your email ten thousand times a day because it will only increase your angst. In many instances, you may not even get a reply because agents and publishers are busy and get a billion queries.
Forget about anxiously awaiting for snail mail. Only rejections end up in your mailbox if you get one at all.
If you focus too much on waiting, then the painful self-doubts rise up like an El Niño storm. As your grandmother once uttered, don’t put all your writing eggs in one basket.
My advice is that once you send your manuscript, immediately start work on another, if you haven’t already done so. The best way to forget you are waiting is not to wait, but write. Use the days productively. We only have so many, after all.
If you are fortunate and your work is accepted for publication, that takes time, too. Sometimes up to two years to get your book published. The same advice holds when it comes to waiting.
Don’t wait. Write.
Patricia Santos Marcantonio
I received some great comments on this, especially C.S. Wilde’s. Thanks for your comments!