Monday, 20 June 2011

The waiting game

I’m playing the waiting game at the moment. There’s a lot of this in writing – probably more than non writers think. I’ve mentioned to family and friends how long I’ve waited to hear back from queries and submissions in the past; a few have been surprised by my longest wait of a year. It’s a slow industry. There are only so many agents and publishers to go round, and there a lot of people in my position. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people who don’t really know anything about writing but figure if certain celebrities who are famous for no reason can do it, they can do it. The problem for people like that is they don’t have ghost-writers. Or a PR team. Or a ready-made audience.

Then there’s the simple things than go against the writer. For example, I queried an agency in late 2009. They asked for the full ms based on the first five chapters and said they’d get back to me in six months. I waited that six months and didn’t hear anything. About a month later, I sent a polite email and heard nothing back. A few months after that, I figured I had nothing to lose but a bit of pride (and when it comes to subbing, pride is the least important thing) and sent a second follow up email. Nothing came back until a few months later when I got a friendly apology which basically said the person who’d requested my ms had since left and they couldn’t find my work. By then, I’d written another book, so when they asked me to resend the original submission, I pushed my luck and asked if I could send a partial of the second book. They said OK and would again be in touch within six months. That six months is long gone so a few weeks back, I sent an email to ask if they have any feedback on either book. No reply yet.

The thing that might sound strange to non writers is I don’t consider that query dead yet. When they reply with a thanks but no thanks, then it’s dead. Until then, it’s still a potential.

So this is the waiting game. And if you’re planning on writing for publication, then be prepared for a lot of this game.


  1. I totally agree with you - it's not dead until the corpse is decomposing in your front yard. You need an infinite amount of patience to be in the business, and you definitely have that! You just never know what's around the corner.

  2. Too true. I keep looking around the corner, hoping there's not something horrible waiting to bite my head off :)