Anyone who’s been writing for any length of time will tell you that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Also, it’s a lot of hurry up and wait. Here’s a waiting plan for various stages of the waiting game:
Waiting for Betas/Critique Partners to get your book back to you:
CONSUME MEDIA- books, movies, TV, magazines, internet articles, blogs… that have NOTHING to do with your book! If you’re anything like me, you write in sprints and consume next to no media during that time. Now’s your chance to refill so you can pour it all back on the page! Grab a latte or a glass of wine and relax a little before your revising begins.
Waiting after your first batch of queries:
START SOMETHING NEW- Now is the time to have a lot of fun coming up with new and exciting projects to get your mind off of submission. Brainstorm new books, sketch brief outlines. That way when the agent comes knocking, you’ll be able to give them a couple of your new ideas.
INCREASE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE- Have a social media account that’s pretty much defunct? Ever want to try out blogging or Twitter or Pinterest? Do it! It will increase your platform, get your mind off submission, and keep you close to your email inbox!
HELP YOUR FRIENDS- Remember those great CPs and Betas who helped you polish your novel and/or query letter? Now it’s your turn to repay the favor.
Waiting after your second, third, or fourth batch of queries:
DON’T GIVE UP- That’s the important thing.
REVISE YOUR QUERY- If your first 15-20 queries don’t result in any partial requests, it may not be a story problem, it’s probably a query problem.
DIVE INTO SOMETHING NEW- Beyond just brainstorming and fun, get down to some serious outlining (if you’re a plotter) or scene-dreaming and inspiration free-writing (if you’re a pantser like me).
READ CRAFT BOOKS/TAKE A CLASS- Is there a common thread in your rejections? Look it up and fix it! What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger. With a little work, your weaknesses can become your strengths.
-If your queries don’t work, you don’t get an agent after a year and a couple of revisions, either take the plunge and self-publish or do what I did: Write a new book!-
Waiting while your agent is submitting your book to editors (aka: “on submission”):
COMPLETELY IMMERSE YOURSELF IN YOUR NEW BOOK- Do NaNoWriMo. Do writing sprints. Write that first draft like crazy. That way, if an editor calls, you’ll have enough distance from your first book to be willing to accept new revisions. If the editor call never comes (which happens!) you’ll be ready to give your agent the new book.
Waiting for your first book to come out:
SOCIAL MEDIA AGAIN! Remember back when you were waiting on your first batch of queries and you re-invigorated your social media presence? Do it again!
WRITE ARTICLES AND GUEST BLOGS- Expand your audience by posting on others’ blogs! (That being said, if anybody wants me to guest blog, I’d love to! Drop me a line! lauralee.edits @ gmail.com)
POLISH YOUR SECOND BOOK- Time to revise and revise and revise again.
Now you’ve come full circle- back to waiting on CPs.
What are some of your waiting tactics?