Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Patience... and lots of it!

So, one thing you MUST have to succeed in the publishing world...


Talent is great. Determination, excellent. But if you don't have patience, you won't get anywhere. At least not without a LOT of frustration. (Trust me, as someone who struggles with patience, I know. I understand.)

Things take time in this biz. Lots of time. Oodles of it. Hurry up and... wait. Hurry some more and... wait. Write that book, edit it, revise it, send out those queries and... wait. Get some requests, hurry and rush through your partial/full again to check for mistakes, read through your three sentence response to the agent(s) fifty times and change one word ten times and finally send off that email and... wait. Get an offer of representation! Sign with your new agent!! Talk on the phone about all the possibilities the future holds. Get told they want to do a round of revisions and... wait. (to get those revisions.) Do the revisions, send them back, and... wait. (Possibly repeat any of these steps any number of times.) Finally, FINALLY get told by agent that your mss is ready for submission. And guess what?? Yep! You get to wait some more. (Some longer than others.) And then you get the offer from an editor who wants to buy your mss and... ha ha! Wait some more! See a trend here? ;-)

(Side note: Speaking of waiting... Don't you just love it when people ask you what your book is about, and say "I can't wait to buy it!" Then when you tell them once it sells it might be anywhere from 12-24 months before it's on a shelf they either stare at you incredulously, or look like they want to pat you on the hand and say, "oh, ri-ight. You're a writer. Uh huh. You just keep me posted on that little hobby." Thankfully there are lots of people who understand it takes time to edit and print and market a book. But, yeah. Not everyone. )

So my advice for today? Practice honing your patience. Learn how to distract yourself and stay busy and not become addicted to "refresh" or "inbox." I wasn't too great at that when I first started querying. I'm a "hurry up and get it done now!" kind of girl. However, over the intervening YEARS (not days, or even months) since I started querying and accepted the offer from my agent, I've definitely learned how to be (at least a little bit) more patient.

How about you? What are some of you techniques to stay distracted or busy when you're in the middle of waiting?


Carolyn V. said...

Start writing something else. Then you're ready for the next big thing. =) Awesome post Sara! I hope you don't have to wait too long (and I want the news asap when you get it!)

Sandy Shin said...

It's so difficult not to refresh my inbox, but this advice is very much spot on. Patience is definitely needed for writing. :)