Getting Published: The Waiting Game

Image by By David Sedlecký

Image by By David Sedlecký

Waiting is hard. I heard from my book consultant about two months ago that a literary agent had my book “under consideration.” Wow! Cause for celebration!

Weeks went by. Nothing. Then the consultant emailed me that the agent had actually started READING my manuscript! Yippee! More cause for celebration!

And now I am again waiting to hear: did the agent like it or hate it? As of this writing, I have no idea.

The process of submitting a manuscript to a publisher or an agent takes time—lots of time. First you have to write the darned thing. Then you have to dissociate yourself from your work sufficiently to write book synopses—short, medium, long. This is harder than you might think. You have to go from being completely absorbed in every detail of your story to being able to summarize it in one or two pages. What do you put in? What do you leave out? And you have to make the synopsis itself interesting and intriguing enough to entice someone to read the MS. And write the synopsis in such a way that the reader will gain some understanding of the tone you have used in your book.

You also have to write a pitch letter snappy enough to entice the same reader into reading the synopsis. All of this takes considerable time, blood, sweat and tears. I found it far more painful to write a synopsis than I did to write the whole book (but it didn’t take as long). Fortunately, the consultant helped me out, so in the end I had three synopses that I could actually use.

I know that if the agent turns me down, I will go through the same process with another agent, and so on until I find one that bites. Once I get an agent, I will have to wait for the agent to shop the book around to publishers. And I will have to wait until a publisher is found who is intrepid or foolish enough to take on an unknown author. And then I will have to wait for the book to be published, but I’m hoping that will be less painful.

I’ve been wondering if I should start another book. I’d like to write a sequel to “The Obsidian Mirror,” but the idea of writing a sequel to an unpublished book is a bit daunting. What do you think? Should I wait to see if my story is published—or have faith and start the sequel anyway? Or try my hand at something completely new? What would YOU do?