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Point of View: Waiting

waiting - Scott

It’s something every author has to learn to do – to wait gracefully for a response after submitting a story to a publisher.

Right now, I’m waiting on two – one’s a stand-alone YA novella, and the other’s a sci fi novel that I hope will launch a new trilogy.

I am calm.

I am relaxed.


*takes deep breath*

I am calm. I am relaxed.

As you become more experienced at your craft and the whole submissions thing, you learn a few things about the process:

1) Confirm Receipt: When you submit your story, ask for a receipt confirmation in your email. That way you’ll know they got it, instead of waiting for a couple months, only to find out that the file went to their spam folder and you either missed a deadline or have to start waiting all over again.

2) It takes As Long as It Takes: You can’t rush these things. The publisher will get back to you when they are ready. And sure, we all want to get that exciting email – “your story was so amazing that we just had to tell you right away!” But most of the time, you won’t get an answer until the last possible moment.

3) Desperation is Not Pretty: You should never bug the editor before the stated deadline for a response, and you most certainly should never, ever scream, yell, or cry in your emails to them. Once the deadline has passed without a response, if I still haven’t gotten a response, I send one very polite and friendly email, just to be sure it’s still in queue.

4) Be Graceful in Defeat: I have a few close friends to whom I can grumble to my heart’s content about the unfairness of the world at large and publishing in particular. I NEVER direct those sentiments to the editor or publisher, or put them out in public. Editors and publishers are people too, and they know what they are looking for that will suit their anthology or product line. If your story isn’t it, it’s not personal. When I am rejected, I send a quick “thanks so much for considering me” response and leave it at that. Don’t burn bridges you may need later.

5) Rejection is an Opportunity: It’s true. There are so many publishers these days, and self publishing has become much easier. I self-created my own first ePub book last week in just a couple hours. So when that manuscript comes back to you, send it out into the world again and again, one way or another, until you find it a good home.

6) Celebrate the Wins: The first short story I published netted me $35. Mark and I went out to dinner that night and spent almost $100. I’m not advocating that you blow all your royalties on steak and lobster, but these things happen rarely enough that it’s important to do something nice to mark the occasion. It will help tide you over the next time you get rejected.

That’s what I have learned. To my writer friends, how do you deal with waiting? And do you have any other tips for new and aspiring authors?

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