Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wait for it... (The Author's Life Post-Agent, pt 1)

I've read a TON of blog posts about seeking agents, querying, pitching, etc. I've read far fewer about what to expect after you've signed with an agent. Thus, I decided to start writing as much as I safely can with advice on this stage of the game. And so, my first bit of advice is this: Learn how to have patience. Lots and lots of patience.

Certainly, it's a long, grueling process finding an agent. It's nerve wracking to send out query letters, wait on your haunches, receive rejections, lather, rinse, and repeat.

And I wouldn't want to go back to that, to be sure.

So, if you're in that stage, press on. It does get better. I'm not even going to insult you by saying, "enjoy it while it lasts." No, embrace the discomfort of the agent-finding stage and use it as motivation to get better at writing, make your book better, get that query letter pitch-perfect, and find every avenue possible to advance your career.

That is the ONLY nice part of the pre-agent stage. Everything, for the most part, is truly in your control.

Once you've signed with your agent, you're in a joint venture. The revision process takes place together, you work together to understand the pitchable qualities of your book. And then...

Then you take your hands off your baby and let your agent do their job. You've done your revisions, and you're waiting to hear what the next step will be. Will there be more revisions? Is the book ready? Does she want to go ahead, or does she think there's still more work to be done?

If you can learn how to hibernate for the winter, do it.

If not, then you need to find a way to occupy your time so you don't (a) Go Crazy and (b) Drive Your Agent Crazy.

But, what to do?

  1. Write your next book. Sure, you'll feel like you're cheating on the other one. And you'll still keep thinking of things about your first book. But that's ok. Consider this the only infidelity that's permissible.
  2. Get a hobby. My wife and I have taken up puzzles. Then we talk about my book while we do them. Ok, it's not the most effective. I've also started cooking more (as my twitter feed should inform you). With lots and lots of bacon.
  3. Spend time with your family. You know those people you've been neglecting for the past few months. How about making a family day? Or week? Go for a trip, do a picnic, whatever. Time with your kids is truly time well invested. Plus, they have no idea what advances against royalties are. It helps.
  4. Get caught up on TV. That's what Hulu and NetFlix are for, really. Depending on how long I'll be waiting, I'll be watching Private Practice, Vampire Diaries, Archie's Funhouse, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In that order.
  5. Blog more. Hence my blog has been injected with adrenaline. Maybe this time I'll make it a habit. Or, you know, maybe not,
Excelsior!

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