The waiting game

I’m an impatient person. (I will pause here while you express shock at this statement… WHY AREN’T YOU EXPRESSING SHOCK?) I’ve always been that way, and it’s something I’ve had to learn to manage over the years. So, as I’m sure you can imagine, writing and publishing books is a special kind of torture for me.

SlothThe publishing industry is a slow-moving beast. Even if you disregard how long it takes me to draft a novel in the first place—I’m jealous of you speedy NaNoWriMo types—so much of publishing is waiting. Waiting for beta feedback. Waiting for responses to queries. Waiting for edits, and covers, and publication dates. And now Isla’s Inheritance has finally been released into the wild, I’ve discovered a new thing to wait for: reviews.

It’s possible to be waiting for all these things AT THE SAME TIME. If you’re a writer, you have probably discovered this already.

The way I manage my impatience is to distract myself—ideally with things that are productive in other ways. I’m not knocking other forms of distraction. Books and computer games are particularly effective for me, although I hear good things about booze. But if I’m not being productive I feel guilty and impatient.

None of my distraction techniques are rocket science, but maybe they’ll give you some ideas if you’re stuck in waiting hell too.

If I’m waiting for a response to a query, I deal with it by sending other queries. My rule of thumb is to have between five and ten queries “in the field” with agents at any one time—if one is knocked back, I send out another. That way, any single rejection stings less, and it also speeds up the time querying takes. (If you did them back-to-back instead of simultaneously you’d die of old age before you exhausted your options.)

When I was waiting for Isla to be released and didn’t have anything that needed doing as part of that process, I spent time creating promotional memes, which was both productive and fun. I love Photoshop!

At first I dealt with waiting for reviews by tracking down book bloggers and requesting reviews. (Important note: by “tracking down” I mean looking at book blogs and review policies, and emailing those bloggers I thought might be interested in Isla. I DO NOT mean stalking them on line, finding their home address, and dropping in to say hi. Stalking is bad, mkay?) Then I discovered a co-op NetGalley option, so I got in on that too.

And if I’m waiting for most other things, I deal with it by writing something new. Nothing sells a new release as effectively as a backlist (or so “they” say, and I see no reason to doubt it). Also, you never know when the thing you’re writing might be the next big thing, or whether the person you’re waiting on—be it agent or publisher—might want to know what else you have in the works.

Failing all of this, chocolate also helps.

What strategies do you use to deal with waiting-related impatience?

After all that waiting, Cassandra Page has now been a published author for just over a month. Weird.

Cassandra Page


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