Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Waiting Game

I've heard the old saying 'publishing moves at a glacial pace', and I never understood it until I started writing. The entire process, from idea to completed manuscript to printed book on the shelves can take over two years. On a good day (or year).

One of the hardest things for me to learn was to be patient. (I'm still learning...) I slaved over my book, revised and revised and revised. Then I sent my manuscript to critique partners and betas. And waited. My poor email inbox refresh button broke from the constant refreshing. I wanted to know if they liked it. If they hated it. And then I waited some more. And once I started getting their comments back, I revised the heck out of it again. And again.

Then I started querying. That process, in and of its self, feels like it takes forever. You hit send on that query, and if you're anything like me, immediately start refreshing your in-box. Mercifully, some agents have lightning fast response times. The bad part is, if you get an immediate response, it's usually a rejection. I got my fair share of those before I finally got the "I love it! Let's talk." email.

Then once I signed with my spectacular agent, more waiting. At least I was on the other side of the fence, where the grass was greener, the sun was brighter, the air was cleaner. But I still had to wait. And wait. And wait some more.

I haven't gotten to the submission process yet, but I know that I will have more painful waiting ahead of me. I'm sure I'll crash gmail more than once from my constant refreshing. Bring it on baby! :)

How do you make the waiting less painful? Write. Write often. Work on that next book. Work on the one after that. Revise revise revise. Don't let your writing stall out because you are waiting on hearing from the publishing world to let you in. Don't be that one-hit wonder because you let the waiting take over your life, leaving little time for anything else. And by the time you've heard back on the one novel, you'll have one or more new novels waiting to go to work for you too!


  Shelley Watters writes romance for young adults and adults. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two kids and two dogs. She loves listening to music, reading good books and letting her imagination go wild as she creates new worlds and torments her characters in delicious ways. She is an active member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is represented by Mark McVeigh of the McVeigh Agency.


  1. Excellent post. It's so nice not to be alone in this. I've gotten through it with the comfort of other writers in the same boat and focusing on new projects...but my refresh button still gets tons of action. :)

  2. The waiting part can be very painful...but your suggestions for how to fill that time are excellent! Gosh knows I have HEAPS to be going on with while I wait and wait and wait around ;)

  3. LOL at that bear, for a start! And as for the waiting ... urgh. I can definitely relate. Querying is possibly the most painful experience ever (I've never given birth, so...), but I think it's worth it for the flash of excitement and total adrenaline that comes from a partial/full request. Writing other stories DEFINITELY helps take my mind off the current one :)

  4. Yeah, waiting sucks sour grapes. That's all I have to say, cause no matter what you say, I'll keep refreshing the email. LOL

  5. I almost broke my refresh button when I was querying too. Loved your comment about hitting refresh as soon as you hit SEND. *So Truthful* But you're right, the quicker they come back, the less likely they're good ones. SO we hurry up and wait. Tis our lives.

    Your advice though, is spot on. Write the next one... and the next and revise and revise. The best and only adivce.

    Good luck with your subs Shelley.

  6. YES! exactly keep writing. I'm sure I'll be refreshing mine when the time comes ;o) Writing is the part we love anyway, why not do that in the meantime. Great post!

  7. When I talk about wanting to get published "traditionally," people ask me "for the love of God, why!?" It's just in my soul, I guess.

    Good luck with publishing, Shelley. I know it's tough. But with how far you've gotten this far, I'm reminded of one of my favorite writing quotes:

    "Everyone thinks they can be a writer. Most people don't understand what's involved. The real writers persevere. The ones that don't either don't have enough fortitude and they probably wouldn't succeed anyway, or they fall in love with the glamour of writing as opposed to the writing of writing."
-Peter McWiliams