Hello again friends and fellow writerly type people!
Last time around, I wrote about what I thought makes a great query letter. Well now you have that great query and you’re sending it out to all the those lucky agents who are just dying to rep you and fantastically fantastic manuscript.
GO YOU *waves pom-poms*
But in the meantime, you have to wait.
What do you while you wait for a response? Well, I have some suggestions, my dear readers. And no, one of those suggestions is not to obsessively stalk QueryTracker to see where agents are in their slush pile and how many requests for fulls they’ve sent out and hey I sent my query out before this guy who already got a response and OMG ITS BEEN A MONTH NOW I HAVENT HEARD ANYTHING
No, I don’t suggest you do that. *peeks at two tabs over*
Here’s what you may want to do instead!
Write Another Book!
I know you love book you’re querying, you wouldn’t have spent all those countless hours writing it and rewriting it and rewriting it again and again if you didn’t. But let’s be honest here, there’s always the chance this one manuscript won’t actually be The One. And if it’s not you’re going to need to try again.
You’re going to try again. You have another book in you. Don’t argue with me.
Plus, when you actually do land that oh so coveted agent, you’re going that have to write another book anyway! Might as well get cracking on it now! lt’s probably not the best idea to write the sequel to the book you’re querying right away, though. Obviously, if it doesn’t get picked up by an agent, and ultimately a publisher, you’re going to have wasted however many months on a book nobody might ever read.
So start a new story! I had this dilemma when I finished my first manuscript and I’m so happy a started a whole new one. It was a fresh start and allowed me to write a story in a different way with new characters, which I think ultimately ended up much stronger than the first.
Read More of Other People’s Books!
If you’re like me, you have To Read pile that stretches from here to the furthest reaches of the universe and wraps around through hole in time and space and back around again.
Try to bring that pile back down to Earth while you wait! Part of writing better is, of course, reading more. Seeing and learning from the work of those who’ve come before you is important, you might find stylistic cues you’ll want try or even stuff you’d want to avoid doing with your next work. There’s a good chance you might find inspiration for your next book while reading too. It only takes one spark to ignite the wildfire of ideas.
Go beyond your normal reading habits too! My current project is a YA Supervillain high school drama. I’ve got the supervillain part down pretty well – I’ve read about 9,795,436 comics throughout my life, but the YA part not so much. I’ve read a few YA fantasy books over the last year to better understand different tropes, development of character arcs, and most importantly how to build a good romantic triangle to thrust my MC into.
And support your fellow writer friends! If they’ve been published, buy their book! Write a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or scrawl it across the overhang of a freeway! Get the word out there! Helping them helps you. We all rise to the top together or not at all.
Do Some Non-Book Other Stuff!
I think it’s important to have other interests to turn too in case the grind of submission and rejections is taking its toll on you. Not that that’s happening with me or anything… *chitters, looks around nervously*
There’s some incredible television happening right now – Daredevil, Game of Thrones and Orphan Black to name a few. Not only excellent sources of entertainment and distraction, but also they can be beacons of inspiration too. I’ve definitely gotten ideas for book characters from TV shows and movies. And maybe it’s just me, but I always loving finding an actor who matches up to how I’ve envisioned a character or vice versa.
I’ve taken up running in the last year, which is always a good time to clear your head – I throw on some headphones and spend most of my time out on the road brainstorming story ideas (when I’m not focused gasping desperately for breath). Started working out with a heavy bag recently too (much thanks to Shauna & her hubs on how to not wreck my hands). Wanna take out some of your frustrations with the publishing process? Unload on that bag for a half hour and you’ll feel a lot better (at least I do – there’s something uniquely cathartic about it for me)
I’ve also been replaying some old-school Zelda games alongside Kristin’s husband when I have a few free moments. As an aside, Zelda 2 has to be not only one of the most frustrating games of all time, but one of the truly baffling missteps in gaming history. I can’t even imagine the conversation at Nintendo HQ that hatched this rotten egg of gaming horribleness.
BOSS: “Okay team, you know that Zelda game we made and how innovative and genre busting it was?”
TEAM: “Of course we do, amazing game! Good job by us!”
BOSS: “Well for the sequel were going to make another brutally difficult platformer like the 564,457,812 other games already available on out platform!”
Of course, if you’ve got a day job, that a chew up big chunks of time. Probably eleven hours of my day is spent doing stuff related to my day job or traveling to and from it. It’s good because it keeps me busy, but still kinda sucks because it leaves me with only a finite amount of time for anything else, including writing my next manuscript.
Or you could just spend a bunch of hours on Twitter. Not judging. I’m looking at TweetDeck over the edge of Chrome right now.
So what do you folk do while you’re waiting for queries, edits, submission, whatever to come back?
*Peeks over at QT tab*