I hate waiting. That’s not to say I don’t relish sweet anticipation. Like waiting for a fragrant pan of brownies to come out of the oven, looking forward to the next season of a show I enjoy, or for my teasing wife to close the distance between her lips and mine…
Excuse me. I kinda lost track there.
Really, truly having to patiently wait for something, particularly if it could have a negative outcome? Yeah, so not my virtue. Often heard coming from my angsty childhood mouth were the words, “I can’t wait!” All too frequently I really thought I meant it, too. In adulthood, whether it is waiting on results, waiting for the phone to ring, or just waiting on the pot to boil, impatience rides me like a grimly determined jockey.
For the most part, I’ve become fairly good at distracting myself when waiting becomes interminable. I get lost in a book or TV show. I will start a new project, or finish one of many incomplete projects I have sitting around. I get out and do some unnecessary shopping I will later regret, research something that interests me which no one will care to hear me drone on about, paint several coats on my nails and watch each layer dry in between – you get the idea. Fun stuff.
But waiting on a publisher to let me know if they will accept my manuscript, The Warrior Within, takes more than my usual pursuits to get me through.
Per industry standard, after submission of a manuscript that is as good as you can possibly get it, they commit to responding yay or nay within 90 days, or 12-16 weeks. And in the meantime, said manuscript cannot be sent to any other publisher. If three publishers in a row each take 90 days to turn me down, that means I can only submit to four publishers a year.
I read that JK Rowling had 12 refusals before Harry Potter was picked up. Twelve. For Harry Potter. That’s three years just to get a yes. Then, I’ve heard it can take two more years to get to press.
So, it could take 5 years, or more, just to get the first book published.
As Libby, the protagonist of my Warrior series would say, “Well. Crap.”
And this isn’t the first time I’ve submitted my manuscript. The Warrior Within originally had nearly 150,000 words when I sent it around over the course of a year. Then I spoke with an editor who told me it was likely universally turned down because of the word count. So, I spent a month or so culling over 40,000 words, and I have to admit, she is far better for having undergone such heavy revision.
But now I’m back to the beginning with the newly-improved version, and I’m still four weeks from the deadline to hear from the first publisher I sent it to. Again.
I swear, if it takes 5 more years…
Then again, what else am I going to do with the next five years?
Anyway, in the meantime, I’m distracting myself with writing. The Warrior Within was always meant to be a trilogy and book two is nearly written. (Well, it was written, but after stepping away I decided to scrap all but a few scenes and rewrite the whole shebang. She’s much better, believe me.)
Meanwhile, couples from two spin-off novels I’ve been thinking about keep talking to me so I have to stop and frantically make notes before I forget what they are telling me. Yeah, keeping up with all of it is extremely time and thought consuming, but since I have so much time to wait…