“The waiting is the hardest part/Every day you see one more card/You take it on faith/You take it to the heart/The waiting is the hardest part.”
About thirty years ago, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers had a hit with a song called “The Waiting.” At the time, I thought he was pretty cute. Now, I think he's kinda scrawny and has really big teeth. Oh well, tastes change.
Unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember it. And I’ve been singing it a lot lately as I navigate my way through the choppy waters of publishing.
Nobody warned me about the waiting. So I’ll do it for you, if you haven’t started on the publishing gauntlet yet. The waiting just goes on and on and on.
I’m not a believer in waiting for the muse to strike. Books might get written that way, but certainly not by me. I have to beat the muse over the head, bind her, and forcer her grubby hands to the keyboard. Sometimes it even works.
No, the waiting comes later.
You wait for your alpha/beta/omega readers to get back to you with their pearls of wisdom. Maybe.
You send off queries and wait for an agent to show a smidgeon of interest in your manuscript. Then she requests a full and―eureka―you’re there! Or not.
You send off your manuscript and wait for the agent to read it and respond. She offers representation! She loves your book! You’re there! Or not.
You work on another project while your agent shops you around. And wait. And wait. And―eureka!—you’re offered a book deal! You accept it. And you’re there. Or not.
You keep working on another project while the contracts mosey by pack mule from New York, a trip that takes approximately ninety days. But they arrive! You sign on the dotted line. And you’re there. Well, no.
There’s the revision letter. You take time off from work, you revise till your eyeballs bleed. You send in your changes in your allotted time. And you’re there! Surely. Well, no.
Then you wait some more. For edits. For proofs. For things I don’t even know about yet, because―you guessed it―I’m still waiting.
*Sigh* I’m singing the bridge with Tom, now: “Don’t let it kill you, baby. Don’t let it get to you. I’ll be your bleeding heart. I’ll be your crying fool. Don’t let this go too far. Don't let it get to you.”
Off to wait. Anybody out there want to tap an impatient foot with me?