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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Zen and the Art of Waiting for an Agent (or Editor)

Einstein was right: time isn't real. I know because I've fallen into the black hole between finishing my novel, The Renaissance Club, and waiting for an agent to offer to represent it. A seemingly endless span in which "Replies if interested" is the new "No, thanks."It's been two months and many queries. I'm growing anxious, which is not a help to a writer.

So what to do while waiting so impatiently? I've read many articles on this topic. Google it. But I have just one suggestions: Water a plant. Consider as you thoroughly and slowly wet the dry soil and wait for the water to soak in how long it took the plant to develop the buds that are now showing in late May, promising to open in bright splendor as soon as they have finished developing their full vigor. Consider how like a budding, hardy plant is your book. If you're like me, you've spent many years (six in my case) working on it. If you're like me, that included many revisions, one major plot game-change, and endless copy-editing passes. Consider how like pruning and feeding and watering every day for months that process is. And then tell yourself that this is only one day in the life of your book. One day of not hearing, not seeing a bud open yet, and that as surely as the sun will shine, you will get published.

Why do I say that I will get published? Because of my second suggestion: make a plan. The word "plant" contains the word "plan." Like plants, plans tend to grow stronger, bigger, and more durable, especially if committed to paper. For my book as soon as I hit the Wall of Impatience, I turned to doing something more fruitful. I made The Plan to Publish The Renaissance Club. It consists of tiered options that range from finding literary representation and going with a top publisher to self-publishing, preferably in a collective or hybrid publishing house. But the endpoint of The Plan is Publication.

I am assured of my goal. The waiting has become tolerable, the way I can wait for my twelve rosebushes and five phalaeopsis orchids to sprout buds and eventually give me glorious flowers. It's a certainty. That makes waiting easier. One other way to make it easier: read all about the industry and how to get into and survive in it. Here are a few interesting articles.

Why Self-Publishing Doesn't Work and How It Can 
How to Write or Not Write Plot
What Does a Good Development Editor Do?
Get Your Query Critiqued
How To Title Your Book - by Agent Rachelle Gardner
Social Metrics That Matter

And remember -- no matter what anyone tells you -- your pen is golden.