Writing is waiting. And waiting some more. All the while you keep writing, but part of your brain is wondering about the wait.
Even self published authors must deal with some of this. They send a manuscript to their editor and have to wait for it to come back, marked with changes they must make before they can publish. A cover designer has their idea and so the wait begins to see if they can translate it into a cover matching the author’s vision.
Once they upload their manuscript to a print on demand company or an e-book publisher, they wait for notification that it has been accepted. Or that it doesn’t meet some requirement and they need to change it.
Eventually, their book is available for readers to purchase.
In the traditional writing world, the waiting expand exponentially.
My Publisher Waiting Game
Back in May, I submitted a manuscript to one of my publishers on speculation. Meaning they asked me to write a specific story and send it to them. For a refresher, read this post.
After I sent it, one of my non-writer teaching friends and I were discussing it. When I explained that it would be eight to ten weeks before I heard anything, she was aghast.
“You might not hear anything until July? I would be on pins and needles.”
I laughed. Well, not in her face because that’s just rude. Writers understand that ten weeks is much too soon for most publishers to respond to a full manuscript. Some have waited six months to a year.
Yes, it IS a long time to be on “pins and needles.” But authors know there is no thumb-twiddling while you’re waiting to hear. You start writing the next story.
I have finished two projects and begun the sample chapters for a nonfiction project I hope to submit to agents in a month or two. All while waiting for the publisher to respond.
In the middle of August, I received an email from an editorial assistant with Month9Books. She informed me that my manuscript was the next project to be read. I should hear within a week or two.
In the middle of September, I got an email from my editor. She wanted to schedule a conference call with the publisher.
We’re talking. It can’t be all bad news, can it?
I’m telling you, all those months with no news was definitely the good news in this situation.
The publisher wanted to reject my manuscript outright because it didn’t follow the rules of a single genre. BUT since the novel is a spin-off of my short story which is coming out in this publisher’s anthology later this month, she wanted to capitalize on that if she could.
I won’t bore you with the details. In short, if I wanted to do a bunch of things to get my manuscript out there (publish on WattPad or Amazon), they would support that on their social media channels. But I should consider this manuscript rejected and released.
Agent’s Play the Game
During this same time, I have continued to submit my YA fantasy called DRAGONS AWAKENING to a few agencies and small presses.
I’m surprised by the number of literary agents who say, “If you don’t hear from us in six (eight, ten or twelve) weeks, consider that a pass.”
Because dropping me a two-line email will take so much time? Don’t you have an assistant who could handle that to give her (or him) a break from weeding through your slush pile?
It baffles me.
So in this case, no news is BAD news.
They are so disinterested in your story that they couldn’t even take a minute to type a sentence or two.
This isn’t all agents. How would I know what a rejection email looked like if I hadn’t gotten one or two or twenty?
And I respect the agents who at least reply. They remain on my list of possible candidates for my next project. Provided they even represent Christian nonfiction or women’s fiction.
Small Publisher’s Win
Even though the publisher who asked for my novel-and took four months to reject it-isn’t a major publishing house, they do have a presence in bookstores, with libraries and with major review journals.
My best success with hearing back in a timely manner from publishers has come from small publishers, like Roane Publishing.
We can speculate that this is because they don’t receive the same quantity of queries and manuscripts as agents and larger publishers. While this might be true, they also have a much smaller staff. In fact, Roane’s staff is spread all over the world.
Imagine conducting your business 100 percent virtually. When you have an editor in New Zealand. You’re awake? Well she’s sleeping.
Whatever the reason, I give the award for treating authors respectfully and professionally to these small publishing houses. Kudos to you for making writers feel like they aren’t submitting into a void.
Someone is actually reading those queries and sample pages. Even if they aren’t buying it, they’re reading and
Without authors, there’d be no publishers – Roane Publishing
At the moment, I’m writing again (actually rewriting and then editing). But then I’ll begin part one of my the never-ending game: waiting for beta readers to read and comment on my early draft.
How are you at the waiting game? Have you ever experienced the “no news is good news” phenomenon?
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5 thoughts on “When No News is Good News”
Waiting isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. Waiting for good or bad news – a whole gamut of emotions races through me!
Staying busy and trying to keep your mind off the possibilities, that is my answer.
Since it is a big part of the writers life, you are doing great moving forward with the next project and the next!
Waiting for me is more like anticipating. I can imagine a host of outcomes, and I’m such an optimist that I’m always guessing it will be the best. Time for my major break!
But I know once I hit the niche where I’m supposed to be writing, things will start to happen. Maybe faster than I’m prepared for.
And, yes, keeping busy is always a good antidote. Wonder where we learned that from??? (No, I don’t. It was Mom.)
Ah, waiting. Just think of all the sterling character you’re developing! Right now my WIP is waiting for me to get to work and finish it, so I’d better go. Good luck!
Good luck to you. I guess the character-building waiting will be coming your way soon enough.
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