One of the most difficult things we endure as writers is waiting. I can deal with rejection. Take it, with or without salt, and let it go. But the waiting game is a sort of Purgatory, a nebulous limbo that feels as hellish as being a polar bear in Aruba.

We finish a manuscript or a proposal and send off queries to agents or editors, and wait. We try not to think of them, turning out attention to editing or starting a new piece. But down deep, we’re waiting. Why? For what?

We wait to see if an agent will take us on or like our new book. We wait for an editor’s acceptance, a publisher’s offer. We wait for our manuscript to be produced into a tangible, physical book. We wait to see if reviewers will give it ink, positive or negative, and whether readers will find it and like it. We wait for sales figures and royalty statements, and even the possibility of a check (wait, it’s in the mail).

We wait for inspiration when the words won’t flow. We wait for information when plot or character or setting demands research.

I spent eighteen months working on my last book. It’s good, my best so far. I think it has break-out potential. But agents won’t touch it because it’s part of a series. Publishers don’t want it for the same reason, even though I own the backlist. So, I offered it to the small house that has done a nice job, albeit with very small sales, on the last two books in the series.

A month went by, then two, and three, and still no word. I e-mailed the acquisitions editor to find out what’s going on. Because I have another book in production with that house (a stand-alone), they won’t make me an offer until they see how that book sells. But I’m still waiting for that book to come out. It won’t be published until next March. So figure another fifteen months before I hear anything.

Maybe I’ll finish another book in that time -- and start the waiting game all over again.

Mike Sherer

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Comment by Harley L. Sachs on July 10, 2007 at 1:45am
If you don't like to wait, self-publish the online non-fee printer. You can have a copy of your book in your hand in a couple of weeks. That doesn't mean anyone else is going to buy it or even find it. the rest is up to you. As for waiting, I've waited now for serveal years for the new owner of the WescottCove list to reissue my book of nautical humor,"Irma Quarterdeck Reports." We've been through a couple of edits to bring the 1992 book up to 2007 information. If your book is actually conteacted by a NY publisher, expect it to take two years to go throughediting, desighn, and revisions, pre publication. I'm still waiting. Goes with the territory. Trouble is, I'm 76 now and could recyle at any moment.
Harley Sachs where you can listen to two stories as broadcast on the BBC, read a free mystery, and see numerous reviews.
Comment by Peg Herring on July 9, 2007 at 3:09am
Oh, Mike, do I ever agree! I'm also with Five Star, and my book comes out in January, a year and four months after they accepted it. I have others ready but they want to wait, so I wait as well, though I DON'T want to. I waited a year for an agentcy that thought they could sell my suspense novel, only to be told that they'd done their best, goodbye.

I know why people get sick of these games and publish their own books, although that isn't for me. So I guess we...wait.

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