Once upon a midnight dreary, while I waited, anxious and leery,
Over many a quaint and curious letter of query…
….my apologies to Edgar Allen Poe’s Raven. I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in this long publication process. And as my friends know, waiting is not my strong suit.
But it’s a necessary skill in this game as an unpublished author. First comes the joyous (for me) process of writing, editing, fine-tuning. Then comes researching among a million (or so it seems) agents to find who represents my genre, which other authors they represent that would be similar, and what their submission guidelines are. Then comes crafting a perfect custom query letter that will fire their individual imaginations, sending several new ones every week.
Then the waiting starts. 6, 8, 12 weeks. Waiting for a reply asking for more sample chapters, or a polite ‘thank you we’ll pass” letter. A few happy dances are mixed in as some agents ask for a full manuscript to review. I’ve received several nibbles and many encouraging notes. Like the one passing on Ocean Effect but saying “I’d certainly welcome the chance to look at more projects from you.” (insert more happy dances)
The latest: an agent asked to review the full manuscript for Ocean Effect, but on an exclusive basis. For eight weeks. During that time, I wouldn’t be able to send the manuscript to anyone else who might ask. So. Eight weeks. That was September 22. Tic tock. Which means I should hear around November 17. Which is right around the corner. Really.
The only cure for waiting is to dive into another project, so I’m knee-deep in the next Penny McKenna mystery, Key Chaos. But while I’m digging into cemetery research and twisting my plotlines, November 17 keeps tapping on my shoulder. Whispering in my ear. Echoing in my brain, as loud as the dead man in Poe’s Tell Tale Heart. November 17.