Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Wait

Anybody who's tried to get a book published the traditional way (by "traditional" I mean through a publisher vs. indie/self pub/epub) knows waiting and rejection are part of the game. Even those of us who've already had books published find ourselves waiting and, sometimes, disappointed. That's where I am right now; my agent's getting ready to send out a project, which means I'll be waiting on news that could either be awesome or not-so-awesome.

I've been in this situation enough to have developed a strategy for waiting. It makes the whole circus, if not better, then bearable. Since my big news right now is that I have no news -- or I may eventually have news but I may not, in which case my news will be that I am sad -- I decided to share how I handle myself in the waiting room.

#1 - Watch a lot of YouTube: Actually, I do that already. I just wanted an excuse to post a video from the concert I took my daughter to for her birthday last week. It was Big Time Rush, and she had front row seats. Chalk up a big old win for Mom, who had an anxiety attack at 10 a.m. one morning in March waiting for those VIP tickets to go  on sale. And don't tell anybody, but I loved the show, too. When we met the guys, Logan told me my little one was "so cute" (of course she is!) and Kendall shook my hand. I'd like to say I haven't washed it since but I also have a 3-year-old, and we puppy sat last week.

#2 - Keep Writing - It's been said a billion times, but this is really the only thing a writer can control. It's tempting to take a break while you wait to hear about a new project, but news can take a long time to arrive and I hate getting behind. Writing calms me. Plus, I think of it like replenishing the inventory of a store. If this project doesn't find a publisher, then the next one will be that much closer to being ready for submission. 

#3 - Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst - This sounds pessimistic, and I've had friends tell me that the energy we put into the universe becomes manifest in what actually happens.I find that this kind of thinking works when I'm dealing with something I can influence - like actually writing a book. I envision myself having the creativity and discipline to write something awesome, and most of the time vision becomes reality. But I don't have a lot of faith in whether good vibes can influence editors and editorial boards. If I write a great book but it's not for them, then it's not for them. I always hope my stuff will be wildly successful, but if I let my hopes get too high then I find it's a long, hard fall when the answers aren't what I wanted and expected.

Basically, I try to be zen. Much like these kitties. (See? Another excuse to get on YouTube.)

 #4 - Have a Plan B - This is actually a new weapon in the aresenal of authors who get tired of waiting: If a traditional publisher doesn't fall in love with your book you can still find readers by going indie and epublishing. The stigma that self/e-pubbed books aren't as good as traditionally published books is dissolving as more and more traditionally published authors dive in. That's because the traditional print market is tough, and there are perks to having total control. I'm not ready to go that direction yet, but I really love and believe in this book that's making the rounds right now. I'll see how it does, and then we shall see!  

The biggest thing I do when I'm waiting like this is remember why I write. It's in my blood, otherwise I wouldn't put up with the waiting and the rejection and working on things with no guarantee that they'll be successful. If you're a writer, too, then this is nothing you haven't heard before, but it's worth saying again--the best reason to write isn't for publication, it's because you love telling a good story.