Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Waiting Game by Dana Fredsti

As writers we are all familiar with the Waiting Game (and the crying game as well although probably sans 'she is really a he!' at the end of it).

We wait for inspiration while sitting in front of our computers.

We wait for that SASE (self addressed stamped envelope for those who have only queried via email) or email response to come back, hopefully with a request for a partial or full read.

We wait for the phone call telling us yes, we want to publish your book/story/article.

We wait for editorial feedback to let us know how much of our beloved masterpiece needs to be rewritten.

We wait to hold that magical ARC in our hands for the first time.

We wait, sometimes over a year, for actual publication.

We wait for reviews.

Yup, lots of waiting.

In between all of the waiting, we work on our next project(s) or work on promotion for the current one. But no matter how busy we are, at no matter what stage of the writing career, we always are waiting for something. At least I am.

I'm currently waiting to hear back from two editors at a large publishing house. I spoke with them in early November about an outline/first fifty pages pitched to them by an editor/agent I work with at another publication. They loved my writing, loved the concept, would I be willing to change A, B and C? Could I sent them an updated outline and the rest of what I'd completed on the book? I could and I did. They hoped to push the project through the rest of the editorial staff/board (whatever it's called) at the publishing house. It would be for a three book contract. They hoped to have the answer by Thanksgiving. I'm still waiting.

I've been very zen about it for the most part. Things always take longer than expected in the world of publishing and film-making, at least in my experience, and getting frustrated and stressed over something I had no control over didn't make any sense. No, I'd just forge ahead on the first book and wait patiently (lak a black widow spidah! Points for anyone who can tell me where that quote comes from). It wasn't until about two weeks ago that I had a mini temper tantrum (you know, the inner child doesn't WANNA wait! She wants her toy NOW!) and lost said zen. Stressed out, sure the answer was 'no' and they just hadn't bothered to tell me. It was pointless, life sucks, blah blah blah.

I'm better now. Talked to the editor/agent, who is also waiting to hear back from them about a few things. They're busy, we just have to wait it out. The answer could still be 'no.' On the other hand, considering their enthusiasm, it could certainly be 'yes.' I just have to wait to find out.

How about you? What aspect of the waiting game do you hate the most? Or have you mastered the art of always living in the moment, never worrying about the outcome of any particular project? And if the latter, is there a prescription for this? :-)

Dana Fredsti


Morgan Mandel said...

I'm lousy at waiting. Just like everyone else in this fast society, I want what I want right now!

Well, anyway, if I can't have it right away, I try to busy myself with other projects to get my mind off of it.

Morgan Mandel

Mike Dennis said...

My novel was picked up by a publisher back around the first of August, nearly seven months ago. I signed the contract immediately, and have heard zip since. I know they're still in business, but I don't get it.

A guy I know actually turned down a deal with a large publisher because they told him it would be nearly 3 years until his book would come out. He went with a small publisher and is selling the shit out of his book.

Dana Fredsti said...

Sometimes the smaller publishers are a better choice, Mike! My publisher got my book out within three months and I was very happy with the results..

Anonymous said...

My first YA novel is on submission via my agent. I fade in and out of the zen approach. During my good moments I tell myself to remember what I do and don't have control over. Thanks for recognizing that waiting is difficult and that it happens at every stage in publishing.

Dana Fredsti said...

Waiting never stops, no matter what stage we're at... and it always sucks. The zen attitude is an extra picking up points in a video game...

Teagan Oliver said...

I am convinced that this voyage in publishing is the universes attempt to teach me patience. So far, it's not working very well. But if we don't at least try then we've failed before we started. Best of luck to you...

Teagan Oliver

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