You’ve heard the old line, hurry up and wait. Well, when you’re a writer, you will learn the meaning of that term, I promise you. You do all that work, making your manuscript shine, suffering over your query packet. Then after days and nights, maybe years of work, you send your manuscript to a market.
Maybe it’s a literary agent. Maybe it’s a magazine. Either way, one thing remains true; you will have a very long wait before you get a response. If you ever get one at all.
So, what do you do while you’re waiting? Well, first you take a pen and write the date you can expect a response by. This should be available somewhere in the submission guidelines.
Now, here’s the hard part. Forget the thing exists until you get to the day you put on your calender.
There’s an episode of Castle with Dean Koontz. He’s playing poker with the main character, Rick, and a young writer who’d just sold his first book and was being rather boastful about it. Koontz looked at the young man and said, “Do you know what I did after I wrote my first book? I shut the hell up and wrote another one.” You know what I did after I finished my book, (not Broken Patterns, the really bad one I wrote before that) and started sending it to agents? I sat down and started on Woven. Which is a really good thing, because as I just mentioned, the last book sucked a whole lot.
I also wrote a lot of short stories, some of which were published. I started this blog. I wrote poetry, and journal entries.
When I got a rejection letter, and I got a lot of rejection letters, I’d save them and send the book out again. I spent time with my family and posted on Twitter. And I wrote. Twice I revised my query pack, when I saw it wasn’t working for me. That got more requests for the manuscript. Basically, I worked like I’d never sent a book to an agent.
What I’m saying is this; don’t wait around for your book to get an agent. Get it out there, and get back to work.
To sum it up, here’s a handy list of things to do while you’re submitting your work to an agent or magazine.
* Write another one.
* If you wrote a book, write some short fiction.
* If you wrote a short story, maybe think about writing a book.
* Write some poetry.
* Make play dough with your kids.
* Write some more.
* Start a blog. Write some blog posts.
* Consider the rain on the windows of a coffee shop, then write some more.
* Clean a little. The house is probably trashed if you just came off a big project.
* Write some more.
* Write a non fiction article for some magazine you’ve never heard of.
* Write again.
The writing’s never done. We can’t all be Harper Lee. So, you’re book’s done? That’s great. Shut the hell up and write another one!