It was the best email I had ever received. “Thank you for sending your proposal my way. I’ll read this over the weekend and respond to you on Monday. Have a great weekend.” A weekend! I only had to wait a weekend to find out if my book proposal has legs and if this top New York Literary Agent thought the market was ready for my book.
Oh My Word! But, a weekend is such a long time when you are waiting!
What if he falls in love with it and responds before the weekend is over? Refresh my mailbox every five minutes. It’s Sunday morning and he hasn’t replied, maybe he hates it. Or, maybe he will reach out on Monday like he promised. Please, God, let him have a safe and relaxed joy-filled weekend.
Waiting is a huge part of the publishing process.
With traditional publishing, we wait to hear back from agents, from publishers, from editors. We wait to be slotted into a calendar for a far-off publication date. We wait to hold our hardcover copy in our hands. This early in the process, I am just going to have to get used to waiting.
Things aren’t that much different for the clients I consult with who choose to self-publish. They also have to wait for feedback from editors, for the graphic designer and interior formatter to perform their magic, and then to apply any last-minute changes from the galley’s review. The distribution and printing may not be as long as with traditional publishing but there is still some element of waiting involved before they get to hold their book in their hands.
What can you do while you wait?
Besides wear a hole in the floor from pacing like an expectant father ready to hand out cigars, there is plenty to do while you wait. You can write blogs (as I am doing right now) and other promotional material for your website and newsletter. You can create social media posts related to your topic. You can approach podcasts and radio shows to be a featured guest. You can continue to build your online presence.
It is very important to remember that the work is far from over when you hold a book in your hand. Just like a baby, you are responsible for keeping your book alive for a few years afterward. The whole reason you wrote a book is that you had something to share with the world, and the only way the world is going to know about it and enjoy your words is by you continuing to tell anyone and everyone to get a copy.
I’m off to stock my fridge with champagne now because though I don’t know if this agent is the agent to represent my work, someone eventually will and I will be ready to shove baby pictures into the faces of strangers for years to come.