If you are an author searching for an agent or publisher or even looking to self-publish, you might see advice telling you to be patient. If for some reason you haven’t read that piece of advice yet, let me tell you it now: You need to be patient. If you can’t be patient, you need to find ways to cope with all the waiting you will be doing and believe me, there will be a lot of it.
So why patience with waiting? Besides all the time it takes to write and edit a book, once you start querying it can take months to hear back from agents and houses and that’s if you hear back at all. If you get a full manuscript request, it’s another few weeks to a few months of waiting. Heck I’ve heard of authors hearing back on full requests over a year after sending them. Say after querying you find an agent to take you on, that’s more waiting while you work through revisions together then go on submission to houses . Add in that it can take authors several books before they land an agent and not all books that go on submission to houses find one, yeah you could have a lot of waiting ahead of you. And if you get a house, you have more waiting while you wait to get your edits and see your book cover and then wait for the book to release. If you can’t deal with waiting, it will wear you down fast.
Even when it comes to self-publishing patience is key. If you get too eager to publish and don’t spend enough time preparing the book, you may end up putting out a book that isn’t quite ready yet. I’ve started reading indie books I couldn’t finish because they just weren’t ready and should have gone through another round or two of editing or shouldn’t have rushed the editing. Self-pubbers also need to have a solid marketing plan ready to implement since they won’t have any help from a house. If you don’t have a plan ready by the time you publish the book, you might not get many sales. Researching and developing a good marketing plan is something worth waiting on if you want sales.
So what if you work in the industry? You still deal with a lot of waiting. Believe me editors and agents are just as eager to hear back on news or get an edit or book cover out as you are. When I first started editing it took me several months to not worry over edits once I sent them out to authors. If it was a book I loved, I’d get anxious to get the edits back to go over it again. I’ve been in the query trenches before and I’m preparing to do it again, so I know how awful the waiting is on both sides of the industry.
The good news is after getting stuck waiting, you’ll find ways to cope with it. If you struggle with the waiting, the best way to find coping strategies is to ask fellow writers who know the pain of waiting. You might get some advice that works for you or who knows, maybe you’ll become one of the rare lucky ones who develop Buddha-like patience.