September 11th, 2008 • Kate

I’m about to head off for a somewhat unexpected trip, but before I do, I wanted to say something about waiting. One of my authors who’s awaiting a response from an editor made a comment the other day about publishing time bearing a stronger resemblance to glacial time than normal, human time. And unfortunately, it’s totally true. Like my Ask Daphne question of the other day, you may think it wouldn’t take long to read a 250 word manuscript, but what about all the other 250 word manuscripts on that editor’s or agent’s desk? What about the 250,000 word manuscripts? And then there’s all the meetings, and work to be done on already acquired manuscripts…
Let’s just say, if you want a career in publishing, get used to waiting.
And don’t think it’s only on the author’s side of things — as agents, we have to wait ALL THE TIME. We wait to hear the news from an acquisitions meeting, we wait for draft contracts, we wait for payments and royalty statements… we wait a lot.
So we know what you’re going through. And my advice for myself, as well as for you, is the same thing: Keep busy! Waiting on a draft contract from publisher A? Email editor B for a response to a manuscript. Waiting on a response to manuscript C? Read author D’s latest revision. Waiting for a response from Agent E? Write your next book!

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4 Responses to “Waiting…”

  1. slf Says:

    Great advice. Reminds me of this quote from Nathan Bransford's site…
    "Welcome to publishing, the land of books, writing, and agonizingly long waits. Pour yourself a drink. You're going to need it."
    I'm pretty sure he just gave me an excuse to buy some champagne.

  2. Caryn Says:

    So true. Spending time waiting and worrying is unproductive. If it's spent working on the next book, then not only does it take your mind off the wait, but then you'll have something else to sell.
    Hope you have a nice trip.

  3. Carrie Says:

    Honestly? I don't know how you do it. When people ask me what they should do to make it as a writer (as if I know what I'm talking about), I add patience to the list along with hard work, perseverance, etc. Kudos to you for juggling it on a daily basis!

  4. Julia Says:

    Amen! I truly appreciate that in your agent role, you not only have to wait on the publisher – but you have to reassure new authors when they are at the hair-pulling-out stage! lol
    The two things that are keeping me sane (and, with a full head of hair) are continuing to work on my next book – and knowing that my agent is an email of good advice away!