Thursday, April 5, 2012

I wait.

I’m not good at waiting. As it happens, a large part of the business side of the writing life seems to involve waiting. This is merely an observation, not a complaint.

At first, depending on your circumstances, you probably have to wait to chisel out the free time to write at all.

Then there’s the writing itself, which takes a while, but that part is fun.

Next you’re querying agents and waiting to hear back. This involves a LOT of waiting. More likely than not, you may not hear back at all (again, merely an observation, not a criticism), and after a month or a few, you cross that agent off your list. (It used to be that this part of the process might stretch out to the point where you simply give up and stash your manuscript in a drawer forever, but these days you can put your book directly on the Kindle, Nook, etc., and bypass the agent-publisher route. Options are a nice thing to have.)

If you find an agent and a publisher, things suddenly enter a strange zone where time moves both slow AND fast. Slow, because the publication date seems so far away, but fast because there is a lot going on—the editorial process to get through, the choosing of the cover, the proof-reading of the Advance Reader copies (these get sent out to old media and new media reviewers), the wait for the reviews themselves, publicity interviews and appearances to be arranged, book giveaways organized, your website updated, bookmarks or postcards to be designed and ordered, and so on.

Still, before you know it, that publication date that seemed so far in the future is here and your book is out—and now you’re waiting for readers to find it, doing your best to help spread the word. Your Facebook page is slowly acquiring followers, your Klout score is rising, reviews are starting to trickle in to your Amazon product page. Life is good.

Then you write the next one—and perhaps, as it happens, it might just have 92,000 words and be called THE FAR-TIME INCIDENT. One day last week, you send it to your editor… and now you wait, biting your nails, to hear back.