Monday, August 07, 2006

And the waiting begins...

I just returned from the post office where I mailed partials from various requests via query letters and Nationals. And now the waiting begins. I tell myself I'll not think about them. I've done everything I can do. Edited until my eyes are gritty, read my dialogue out loud so much, my dog thinks I'm crazy and asked for opinions from so many people, some of them run the other way when they see me. Yes, I can be a bit obnoxious in my persistence.

But, what to do in the meantime. Should I send out more queries, start on another book, finish a partial I put aside months ago or finish that manuscript that's been hanging over my head for a year. Decisions. Decisions.

What if I don't hear back from these agents and editors in the response time they've indicated? Should I follow-up with them, via email or snail mail? How long should I wait after the response time has passed?

My record keeping at the beginning of my writing career would not have impressed a five year old. Now, I'm much better at it, but I could be better. I have a list on Word of queries for each manuscript, date sent, date rejection received or requested material mailed. It's messy, but it serves the purpose for the time being.

What about you? What do you do while waiting to hear from submissions? Do you write more, edit what you have or start something completely new? Do you follow up when you don't hear back on your submissions within their projected response time? If so, how do you follow-up and what do you say? Lastly, how do you keep up with multiple manuscripts and submissions? Do you have a particular kind of log?

Thanks to all who share their tips with a nervous, neurotic, and not so good at waiting, writer.


Deborah Matthews said...

Just last week I mailed 10 partials & query letters. Two were the agent & editor I met at National. THe others just agents I'd like to have.

I have a small notebook I've used since I first began sending my work out. I just put the date, what & to whom. I figure it will be good documentation if the IRS ever comes calling.

However, with the 10 I mailed last week, I did an Excel spread sheet to keep up with when I hear from them and what their reply is.

Are you querying agents or editors? If you're querying agents, it's best not to send it out to a lot of editors. It cuts down on the places an agent can send a ms. if you do hire one.

I'm in a bit of a different boat than you since my ms. isn't complete. If that ms. is totally complete & edited, I would suggest you start on another story. In the meantime, certainly send it out to others.

As far as contacting them, don't do it on the exact day of the time they state. But certainly after that time has passed you can send a gentle note asking. Try to be patient. The slush pile and even requested material are on the bottom of their priority list. Certainly don't pester them.

Gee, does that get all of your questions. I'm breathless.

Carla Swafford said...

Write. Write. Write. The in-the-know people claim that the more manuscripts you finish, the more impressed an editor/agent will be. Not sure if that's true, but it sure can't hurt.

Kathy said...

That's what I keep hearing too. Write. Write. Write. Editors and agents want to know there are many more available manuscripts to be acquired once their attention has been sparked.

You've done great getting something mailed off! Now the hard part is pushing that manuscript out of your mind and starting something fresh to keep you occupied while you wait. It's hard but you'll benefit in the long run and you won't lose your mind staring at the mail box in the meantime.


MaryF said...

Yup, write. I like to work on something new, because it's usually been prodding me for awhile.

You might think about entering contests, too. At least those have a "You will hear by..." date.

I keep a spreadsheet, too.