January 6, 2014

The Waiting Game

Dear M,

One of the most difficult things in life is waiting for a response - waiting for someone to turn up, waiting for a letter or an email, waiting for a call, waiting for pretty much anything.

In the world of writing and publishing, this waiting is in plenty. At every stage, and in between stages, when work is in progress, every day, we are waiting for something.

If we aren't waiting for an idea to strike, we are waiting for us to come up with the best way to represent the idea. If we aren't waiting to finish writing, we are waiting to finish editing. We are waiting for the day we can throw the damn manuscript out somewhere and forget about it forever. (Yes, repeated cycles of writing and editing make us hate our manuscript so much that we can't see how a publisher is ever going to like it.)

Then, assuming that we finish our rounds of crippy-crapping the MS, we send it off to the editor. Then we wait. And wait and wait. Then we begin to wonder if she had checked her emails in the last millennium? Had she received it? Had she forgotten about it? Should I remind her? Should I ping her? Should I call her up and scream at her?

Luckily before you do any of those (or, after you tone down and tone down until you are a small voice politely asking Hi, how's it going?) she gets back with the MS. After the editing stage (of several rounds of waiting) is over, and you hit the publisher or an agent, then the wait begins again. Again the same set of fears. This time, even more so - the publisher or agent is under no obligation (yet) to even take a second look at the MS. If they were blown out of their minds, they would have dashed back. They didn't. It could be anything.

My email had landed in the spam folder and they had emptied it by mistake.
They are sifting through the million emails, they haven't gotten to mine yet.
It's two months, they must surely have at least seen the query. Why haven't they sent a rejection note?
Maybe they have put it aside to read it again.
Or maybe they have sent it directly to trash in a burst of disgust.
At least send me a rejection mail to treasure.
Even better, send me an "accepted-and-hungry-for-more" notice.
Anything, my good publisher, anything, my good agent. Send me anything at all, dammit.

There is no getting past the waiting game. Unless we open a publishing house ourselves, and publish our own books.


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