Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hurry Up! ...and Wait.

The title of this blog post comes from a conversation with one of my agents. During our dinner meeting she mentioned how the publishing industry is very much a hurry-up-and-wait process.

horse copstop

As authors, we hurry up and write and revise our manuscripts until they shine and then send them out to agents or editors and... wait. Sometimes for months to hear anything back from them. Waiting is the hardest part of the writing process for me. Although I try to keep control of my expectations, sometimes I feel like I'm left out on a limb... hoping someone will come by with a nice publishing contract to act like a safety net.

Agents also go through a lot of hurrying up and waiting. If we are lucky enough to have agents, they hurry up and put together submission packets based on our manuscripts and then... wait. I'm sure they also have similar anxieties about the stories they send out, but multiplied by however many clients they have. They might not get as nervous as an individual author over their particular work, but I'm sure the compounded feelings of shepherding so many stories through this hurry-up-and-wait process is one that us authors are probably happy to avoid.

Of course editors are also hurrying up and waiting, too. They might have particular stories they want to champion, but each publishing house has their own process, which can include editorial meetings and acquisition meetings. These poor editors not only have to wade through tons of manuscripts each month, but also need to defend their favorite titles until they are finally (and hopefully) approved for acquisition.

So, what are some ways authors can fend off the anxieties of the hurry-up-and-wait process?

First, and probably best, we can write our next manuscript. The best way to keep from feeling anxious about a particular story that is out of our hands and in the hands of others is to focus on our next book.

Second, do something fun! Read the books you've been putting off. Enjoy a hobby or two. Go outside and garden, run, or see a baseball game. Whatever gives you joy and happiness.

Third, blog about hurrying up and waiting.


What do you do to survive the hurry-up-and-wait publishing process?


  1. Great post, Joseph! I like to walk, write other things like blog posts and have discussions on my writing boards. I enjoyed this very much and definitely agree!

    1. All great ideas, Lisa! Glad you enjoyed my post, too.

      Best Wishes,

  2. In general things move at barely a crawl in publishing, from inception to print. We are conditioned to imagine otherwise by theatrical depictions of writers working feverishly against a deadline .