Last Friday, something amazing happened. I GOT AN AGENT!!! I am now represented by The Steve Laube Agency! Praise. The. Lord. God. Almighty. Amen! Next step, signing with a publishing house!
Getting a manuscript accepted is a long process. I’ve read countless literary agents’ blogs that say it takes about an average of 18 months from signing with an agent to having the book physically in your hands, so while you wait for your novel to either be accepted for representation or to arrive on your doorstep:
Start new story ideas. Don’t wait for that first book to be your bestseller. Start your next book outline and begin the researching process. If you have multiple story ideas, write them down NOW and start your own “to be written” library. Don’t trust yourself to remember them. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I get a great idea and think to myself…I’ll remember to add that to the plotzzzzz. And I’m out and with it, my idea floats away into the night.
Set new writing goals. After picking which book you want to write next, set a goal. By setting daily, weekly or monthly goals, it will help get your mind off of how much time it is taking to reach the next step in the process be it getting an agent or a publishing house. Maybe by the time the book is hot off the press, you will have not one but two books completed.
Read your genre. I suppose this could fall under the researching process, but this is way more fun as it is an excuse to read your favorite genre as “work-related research.” I try to read my genre for both Adults and YA. For the Adult Historical Fiction pieces, I study and note my observations of the authors’ detail in clothing, feel of the settings, use of senses and phrasing of the characters’ voices. My husband laughs when he catches me reading certain books that are obviously for younger readers, but I tell him, “It’s for research,” and go smiling back into my YA Historical Fiction book as I jot down notes on the authors’ usage of facial expressions or voice intonations that just leap off the page.
Later on, whenever I need a good facial/voice description, I can go back to my notebook and review my favorites that I have been keeping track of and voila! It’s one of the best kinds of research and sometimes as writers, we go so wrapped up in our writing schedule that we forget to go back to the basics of studying our favorite books and the greats.
Don’t play the “What If…” game with yourself. It’s tempting to let your mind go there, but once your manuscript is in the agent’s slush pile, it takes at least 60 days for them to respond and even after 60 days, there just may be silence, which is a quiet “no, thank you” and then, you have to start the whole process again. Instead of playing the “What If…” game, just pray for peace and keep writing; otherwise, you might drive yourself crazy. I played the “What If…” game off and on with different agencies for about oooh five months while waiting for acceptance from March-July. It’s not a fun game, so don’t play it. Just save yourself some pain and write!
And last, but not least, eat chocolate.
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