Jacqui Jacoby on the web:
It can take years. Literally. Publishing houses can sit on our manuscripts while we wait to hear. They have a “no simultaneous submission” rule, so even when a writer has an agent, the wait can be agonizing. We carry our cell phones on us, just in case the call comes in. It may have been months, even half a year, and yet we still check our messages as soon as we get home from running errands.
When a letter arrives in our mailbox with that anticipated letterhead in the upper left hand corner, we stare at the envelope, maybe turn it over in our fingers a couple times, afraid to open it even though we already know that it’s far too thin to be an acceptance letter. When we finally dig up the courage to tear off the end, we find it’s a thank you note for the assorted box of Starbucks coffee we sent them for Christmas.
We sigh. We might even laugh a little.
And then we wait some more.
This process can go on for years. The process of writing one book, researching it, creating the characters and scenes and location. We finish it, we edit and we submit it. And then we start the wait.
Or, we can try another way, a way that keeps us working all the time. Not just on our books, but on other aspects of our careers. Aspects that not only keep our minds fresh and our fingers nimble, but ways that keep our name in the minds of agents and editors, of other writers or people in the business who might want to remember us.
We can reinvent the way we wait. We can recognize that there are a multitude of facets to writing that goes beyond just producing a book.
Sometimes, it’s just not enough to be producing novels. It might be time to look at our goals for the next six months or a year and see where it is we want to be when those calendar months are over. Published, we want to say. Secure in a book deal, we might add.
But the truth of the matter is that whether or not our book sells next week, next month or next year is totally out of our hands. Once we put the manuscript in the mail, it is up to the agents and editors to do their jobs while we continue to write.
What is in our hands is what we do with the time while we are waiting.
We can work on our next book. That much is a given. The second book has to be ready if the editor buys the first book. And if the editor says no, well then we still have another book to send out the door and double our chances while we circulate both one and two.
However, there is more to a writing career then just books. Have you ever happened to catch Stephen King’s regular article in Entertainment Weekly? Or attended a workshop given by Suzanne Brockmann or Debbie Macomber? Last year in Atlanta, Nora Roberts not only did interviews with writers, but she gave the speech at the PAN luncheon.
These people are putting their time and energy into other areas of their career as well as just turning out their novels. Each one of these activities requires preparation and writing and time.
End of Part 1. Read more of Reinventing the Wait Part 2 on Learning to Write.
The crime wasn’t in what Trevor Grant had done. It lay in what was done to him. Now, years after he lost his family, he faces life in prison for his part in removing the guilty. In Hannah Parker’s mind, she has two strikes against her: she has too much money and too many brains. In her experience where one of these might blacklist you, the two together was a life sentence.
When the chance comes to see the boys on trial, their cause becomes her cause. With the silent resources behind her, she will work the system, securing the release of the men she believes innocent of conscience, if not the crime.
Strangers coming from different backgrounds, Trevor with Gavin, will join Hannah. She will become part of their everyday living—holding Trevor close—even as they keep an escape plan in place in case anyone ever looks twice and asks “do you live around here?”