Monday, December 9, 2013

The One Where Nothing Happens

Ever feel like all you do is write, write, write and then edit, edit, edit and then meet and greet, meet and greet, meet and greet and make websites and brochures and business cards and try to develop a platform and a Facebook fan page and submit manuscripts to eight different publishers you met at a conference and THEN...


Not a peep. Not even something as simple as a smiley face or frowny face from a potential publisher.

And then the days of waiting for an email or a phone call or a letter turn into weeks and months and months. Sometimes, you may never hear anything. Sometimes, you may hear something you don't want to - but I found that even in that, at least I KNOW and that is even better than nothing.

The wait is long. It took almost exactly a year after submitting Miss Match before I heard anything from the publisher and found out later that it had gotten left in a slush pile of an editor who had since left that company. Publishers are people just like us. And just like it sometimes takes me a week of making my family eat saltines and questionable cheese before I actually make it to the grocery store, sometimes publishers get sidetracked too.

So, if you're stuck there in the waiting period, here's a few ideas to help distract you from checking your email every 92 seconds.

1) Write something else!!

By far the biggest piece of advice I could ever give you is to not write a proposal or a novel or both and then just WAIT for that to get published. Keep writing! Keep learning. Keep stretching yourself in your field. Maybe the one you're waiting on will never be published but MAYBE the one you're writing in the meantime will be.

2) Read and read and read.

Read your favorite authors. Read new authors. Read bestsellers and read brand new books from brand new authors. See what speaks to you and ask yourself why it did. See what you hate and figure out why it rubs you the wrong way. You learn to write not by being in a classroom but by reading and reading often.

3) Go do something.

Find a friend and go Christmas shopping together. People watch at Starbucks. Listen to your friends and the way they talk to you and to each other. What inflections do they use? Watch the lady on her cell phone at the grocery store. Why is she upset? How is she portraying it - words? actions? both? Learn the nuances of people and then go home and try to bring them out in your writing. I think everyone has something weird that they do - some one special, very odd, very weird thing that they and only they do. How can your characters portray this??

4) Eat.

When all else fails and the day is long and your inbox is empty, the last piece of advice I can give to you is to just eat. Eat chocolate, eat potato chips, eat ice cream. Whatever your vice is, go for it. After all, your email will still be waiting for you when you're all done. ;)

How do you cope with the long waits from publishers?


  1. My publisher does a theological review on all books published through them, and I'm always going crazy during those three weeks of waiting! Yes, only three weeks, but I'm still biting my nails. Chocolate is a necessity. And coffee. And focusing on the wonderfulness of the book being published and how great it will be in the end. :)

  2. Or long waits for contest comments....just shorter than that year you mentioned. I hope. LOL.
    I'm being a good girl--I'm writing. And having chocolate and coffee, of course!