Fiction,  The Writing Life

Write Another Book

Waiting is the hardest part of the writing process. When all the revisions are complete and I’m super-happy with the story I have written, I’m sure a publisher is dying to sink their hooks into my brilliance. My agent has put together a comprehensive submissions list and excitement tingles along my spine all the way to my toes when I get the e-mail notifying me that my manuscript has been sent out into the world to find a home. And then, comes the waiting. And…more waiting.

At first, you’re counting the days. You think, okay, the editors need time to read the ms. Maybe they need to take it to their team meeting for consideration… But a few weeks go by and… nothing.

No worries. There were probably some manuscripts in the queue ahead of mine. But a few months go by and still…Nothing! Okay, not exactly nothing. There have been a few “passes,” and many of the comments have been encouraging, but nothing that means “yes!”

Now, I’m beginning to rethink the whole thing. Will this baby of mine, that I poured my heart and soul into ever find a home? Have I been delusional about its place in literary history? Sigh. The waiting. The not knowing. It’s brutal.

Maybe I need to quit writing. Maybe I’m writing the wrong genre. The wrong age-group. Maybe I really suck at this writing thing after all. All of the demons come charging at me at once. Yes, I do have two novels traditionally published. Yes, a lot of schools do use them in their classrooms. Yes, I have had lots of kids say they loved my stories. Sigh. I’m totally confused now about next steps, as I start to think What if my manuscript doesn’t sell?

I decided to do some research on the subject. While I do have two historical novels published, this is the first manuscript going out with an agent, which means that it has a better shot at commercial success, but also that it needs to fit with the current market. Sometimes it can feel as though you need to write the right book at the right time, which… daunting. Right? The Pub Crawl site helped me gain a little perspective on the matter. Their advice? Write Another Book.

If you are disappointed that it is taking a long time for publishers to respond. Write another book. What happens when *cue dramatic music* your first book doesn’t sign or sell? Write another book. Am I going to be the biggest failure ever if this book isn’t a success? Nope. You’re just going to Write. Another. Book.

So, even though my agent assures me we aren’t at the panic stage yet (well, maybe one of us isn’t!) I’ve realized the answer isn’t to quit writing. Perhaps I do need to view my new WIP through the lens of the publishers “wish list”. Or maybe I need to write a book that excites me, regardless of the current market. Either way, my job hasn’t changed. My job is to write another book and make it the best one yet.

So, if you find yourself feeling frustrated with all the waiting…

Yep. You got it. WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.

Happy Writing and Good Luck!

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