It feels like all I’m doing. Waiting. Waiting to hear back on the status of my works. On if it even “works.” Waiting for November, for the full-tilt NaNoWriMo madness I love and dread every year.
Last October, I entered my first book, Alt.World, a science-fiction dystopia, into the insane HarperVoyager open submissions cattle call. I figured, “why not?” I had it edited, had sent it around for queries and got lots of rejections, gotten disheartened and set it aside. But I still love it (do you ever not love your works, even if they don’t take off?) so I figured it was worth a shot at one of the 12 digital titles Harper Voyager crazily said they’d take from open calls.
Except they got way more of a response than they expected–more than 4,500 entries in two weeks. So that kind of blew their whole timeline, and they said it would take longer. So I put on my patience hat and worked more on Undead Rising, my second novel, a zombie-survival gamebook.
In May, they said they’d read through and rejected 3,595 of those submissions, leaving 948 in their “further review” pile. I hadn’t heard anything–I’m in the further review pile. So that was exciting, and I was content to keep waiting. After all, they promised to check in more frequently.
It’s the end of August, and no further updates. I’m checking my junk email folders twice a day out of pure paranoia. The internet rumors say maybe they’re down to fewer than 400, but no one seems to know for sure and I won’t take it as gospel until they say so. Here’s hoping they haven’t forgotten/overlooked mine somehow.
And then there’s the manuscript for Undead Rising, which two agents seemed excited about at DFW Writers’ Convention in May, resulting in two glorious requests for fulls. It’s hard not to pester them (okay, I pester a little. Just a “hey, how’s it going?” email once every month. Just one sentence, I swear. Teensy pester…).
It’s hard to wait.
My writing brain can’t live in the same space as my business brain, it seems; I have to switch one off to work on the other. And lately, with all this waiting, my business brain has been fussing at me a lot.
Any suggestions for winning at the Waiting Game, folks? I felt like I was doing well at patience, but it’s starting to wear on me by now. Let me know your advice in the comments.
4 responses to “Waiting Game”
I also need to be in a different state of mind when I’m working on submissions rather than new stories. Usually the only thing that keeps me distracted from stories that are currently awaiting final verdict is working on another project and coming to terms with the fact that, whatever happens with the stories in submission, its out of my hands. Will they/won’t they like it isn’t up to me, and the story that, now that it’s in someone else’s hands, feels unfinished, will NEVER feel finished, that as long as I’m improving, I’ll always find better ways of editing it and cobbling it together, but that there are other stories, better stories, that also need writing and it’s time to let this one go and to work on something new.
Helps me, anyway. 🙂
Thanks Blake. I think my personal worry is a little different, and I know I’m weird in this way, but I feel like I “know” in my gut when a story is done. But waiting on affirmation? On whether or not I’m deemed worthy? I’m biting holes through my bottom lip with worry!
The trick for me is to always have something else to work on. It’s invigorating to start something new and it always reminds me that even if the previous projects didn’t sell, as long as I keep writing, the opportunity for success will always be there.
That’s a pretty common strategy, it seems like. It’s hard not to get bogged down, though! Thanks for the suggestion!