Every writer must have it. Patience is the single most important, well, virtue. It is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It is your only defense against an industry that will constantly try to dissuade you, no, break you in your enthusiastic pursuit to get your book out there to the masses. Without patience, you don’t have a chance. With patience, good things will come.
Ask anybody who has worked in the publishing world, be it a first time writer, an experienced, multi-published author, an agent, editor, etc. and they will attest that this is a painstakingly sloooooooow industry. The research and the writing aside (and let’s be honest, the writing itself always takes longer than expected!), the process of building the perfect pitch, finding the right publisher(s), making sure you’re following each of their unique submission guidelines and actually submitting can take so, so long.
And then comes the waiting…and the waiting…and the waiting.
Days, weeks, months go by and nothing. So what do you do while you’re waiting? I mean, besides learning how to meditate, binge-watching whatever Netflix has put out this week, nervously devouring junk food and checking your email and/or mailbox every twenty minutes for a reply.
You get productive!
First, after you send the query letters out, you should be working immediately (if you haven’t already) on building your pitch packet. Get that summary, outline, bio, comparative titles, marketing strategy, etc. all done along with your chosen sample chapters. Have it ready for when publishers reach out because they want to see more. For as long as they might make you wait, you NEVER want to make them wait! Arm yourself with all your publishing tools and be ready for when that message comes.
I would also encourage you to start looking for your backups, your “next level” publishers to target. Blow the dust off that Writer’s Market and give it a good scan to find other publishers, perhaps even smaller boutique firms, that might be a good fit and that you can target if you don’t hear anything from your initial batch.
Also, start (or continue) building your platform. An audience that you can build yourself is crucial to today’s publishing world. It’s often the first question a publisher asks. They want to see how many fans and followers you have that could translate to paying customers. Get that website going. Build a press packet. Improve your social media outreach. Contribute to other publications, promote, make guest appearances, teach, share…expand!
Finally, why not get started on the next project? Oh come on, you know this was just one of many. There’s plenty of more in the tank. Don’t sit back and wait. Get going on the next one. Keep writing! Not only will it keep you sharp and satisfied, it will also help you pass the time.
Yes, you have to be patient, but you can also be proficient and prolific! Best of luck and as always, if you need any help with the process, from organizing to planning to writing to pitching to publishing, please reach out. I’m here for you!