Friday, September 21, 2012

On Waiting

It's nice to have company while we wait, yes?
Any writer will tell you, the hardest part of the getting-published process is the waiting game.

It's not the writing. That part's fun.
It's not the editing. Even though it's sometimes painful and sometimes makes your head want to explode, at least you're being productive.

Waiting is the worst.

When you're querying, you wait to hear back from agents.

You get a request, you send it off, and then wait for the decision.

You sign with an agent. Maybe you have revisions to make. You send them off and then wait to hear if your manuscript is ready for editorial eyes.

Your manuscript is declared ready and goes out into the scary world of big publishing houses. Again, you wait.

Your agent tells you there's interest, but to wait a few more weeks....

I could keep going, ad nauseam, but you get the idea. The waiting  never ends, even after you've signed the contract, even after your book is on display at B&N. You're waiting for sales figures and royalties and to hear back on new projects.

So, what do many of us brilliant writer folk do to pass the time while we're waiting?

We ... WRITE, of course!

This is so genius because it gives us a new manuscript-baby to invest in while our school-aged manuscript is away. The problem is, that manuscript-baby grows up and gives us ... something new to wait for.

I hit a couple milestones this past week. I laid my little book, Seagull Rising, to rest after just under a year of having it out on submission. It wasn't too heartbreaking, to be honest, but only because I have two new manuscript-babies ready for manuscript-kindergarten (a.k.a. my ninja agent's opinion). That's the other milestone -- I sent my agent two manuscripts in under two weeks. (I'm not sure if that's against some unwritten rule, but ... they were both ready to go! What's a girl to do?)

So, here I am, between projects ... waiting.

I have two new ideas. One is a YA contemporary set in Hong Kong and the other is a MG historical verse novel. I really liked how this worked the last few months -- having two very different projects going simultaneously. I hope this new pairing will work well together, too.

That's all from me! What do you think of waiting ... and moving on ... and waiting some more? If you're a writer, how do you spend your time between projects?

Photo credit: whistla from


  1. I think it's a great place to be when you can send off your baby to kindy. And you have two! How exciting. I hope you'll have an offer soon. And you never know, the first book doesn't have to the be first *published* book.

    Writing something new is the best way to wait for me too ...

  2. I write while I wait. I always have ideas. Sometimes I have more ideas than I can handle. Sometimes the ideas explode I have so much going on. What I wish was that the ideas that brag inside my muse's head is that the ideas would be for one book instead of five:)

    I have two manuscripts I am querying for and waiting is almost unbearable.

  3. I hope you have an offer soon. Good luck with your manuscripts and hopefully ninja agent likes them :-) I think it would be hard to pull a manuscript from sub, but sometimes it's for the best. I had a friend who got an agent off of her first book, it went on sub for a YEAR, she wrote a new book in the mean time and that book sold within a week in a MAJOR MAJOR deal with like every foreign rights ever. lol. The point just never know.

    I'm currently rewriting yes...rewriting my novel. (see blog for more info) It's crazy!!!! exciting but crazy!

    Your contemporary YA set in HK sounds awesome. My goal is to write a contemp YA set in Australia (I studied abroad there for 1/2 a year and they have a huge teen drinking problem) day.....

  4. *Sorry I meant to say my friend had to pull her first book off of sub. It never sold. But her second did.**

  5. Wow, Rachel, that's a crazy/awesome story! (And I totally understood what you meant the first time. ha ha!)

    Ink in the Book - best of luck in the query trenches! I know how tough it can be! Hang in there! :D

    Thanks for all your encouragement, Vijaya, as always!

  6. I write in the mean time, too. I'm sorry to hear that Seagull rising is no longer on submission. :( You have such a great attitude though. And you are double awesome for having two books ready at the same time!

  7. yeah, the waiting... heavy sigh... I'm getting ready to query my current WIP. I want to do it RIGHT NOW, but alas, a little tweaking still to do.

  8. After some intense revisions, I just sent my "baby" off to a reader, so I'm waiting for comments. I wrung my hands for a bit...what to do now. The answer was to hop right into the next project on which I was only three chapters in. I feel much better now!

  9. So happy you have two shiny new manuscripts with your agent and amazing new ideas swimming in your head. I know I'll be reading of your book deals soon and what a hacky sack celebration that will be!! :)

  10. I'm always planning new projects and writing as I wait.

    I hope Seagull Rising sees the light of day again.

  11. I'm so sorry about your first manuscript, but I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of it.

    When my ms went on submission in June, I was a nervous wreck. To stay sane, I didn't start writing, but embarked on a manic reading binge. I think I read 20 books this summer. It was the only way I could focus on something else! My agent said that submissions are just like looking for an agent. There will be many rejections and it could take a long, long time. We're in revisions again now. It's so great you have other manuscripts (and they sound so fabulous--we need more stories set in Hong Kong!).

    I can't wait to read more about your writing journey! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  12. I had a hard time moving on to another project while querying, because I got a couple R&Rs and I was forced to jump back into the head of the MC of my completed story. It was very confusing to try to move forward, but once I was satisfied and confident I wouldn't be doing more revisions (HOPED) I dove into a new project and it distracted nicely... for a while. Waiting is happening. And you're so right. It's hard.

  13. But you don't have to put that ms to bed. You can epublish it and let your followers read it. I'm going both routes: agent and epublishing and I have never been happier. Why don't you speak to your agent? I found most are very happy to support their clients.

  14. 2 MSes at once! AMAZING! That is something to celebrate. I think we writers don't take time to celebrate when those waits are finally over.

    Out on submission for about 6 mos now and, of course, going completely stir-crazy. Are they thinking about it? Will they ever respond? Do I keep working on the second book in the series or start something new?

    Yes, waiting is the bane of a writer's existence. One thing I've been able to work on in the meantime is platform-building and meeting new writing peeps. That is helpful. But I'm ready to get back to fully-fledged, no-holds-barred writing. Hard to do when you've heard nothing on that little baby MS that's been thrown to the wide publishing world...

    All the best as you move forward, Amy!

  15. Go Amy! I can't wait to read your WIPs when they grow up. ;)

    By the end of Oct. I'll have sent my agent 3 MS. She probably thinks I'm crazy...but such is life.

    In between times aren't all that fun. I'm rethinking my WIP right now and considering revising an ancient cozy mystery I wrote years ago. But neither are that BIG idea that's grabbed me. I need one of those!!

  16. I get so involved with my next project, I forget to query. Ooop! I did it again. But querying is boring. Writing is fun.

    A MG novel in verse. I'm impressed. I love the YA novels by Ellen Hopkins, but you'll never see me attempt one. They are hard to write.

  17. Sorry about having to pull your ms... but I am looking forward to updates on the next two. Keep us posted!

    And you should have lots of time to think up a couple more driving to and from the gym 3x a week! :-)

  18. Great post. I am a firm believer in getting crackin' on something else once you send your manuscript off--and having two going at once is ideal, if you can do it. Good luck with your newest manuscripts, Amy!

  19. :) Not a writer, but I resonate as this sounds a lot like adoption! :) And when I'm waiting in adoption, to cope, I write. So I guess it all comes back around . . .

  20. I always keep writing when I'm waiting. What else is girl to do?

    I'm sorry about pulling your book off sub, but I'm excited to see what happens with your new babies! I hope everything works out for the best for you.