Anyone who’s ever been in the query trenches knows that there’s a lot of waiting when it comes to the publishing world. Waiting on query replies. Waiting to hear back on manuscript requests. Waiting to go on submission. Waiting to hear news from going on submission. Waiting. It can be super tempting to check your email 57 times a day. It can even get to the point where you’ll take anything, even the rudest rejection imaginable, if it means that there’s an email in your query inbox. (And if you haven’t set up a separate querying email, I suggest you do that now. Trust me. This way when you check your email, you know that all the messages in the inbox have to do with your query. I don’t recommend so much you put this email on your phone if you’re super obsessive like me, but I still have it on my phone, so…yeah.)
Distraction is key when you’re waiting.
Distraction via another WIP. Planning, drafting, outlining, staring off into space, whatevers.
Distraction via a shiny, shiny awesome book. You know that one you were supposed to read last winter.
Distraction via the TV shows you neglected while you were drafting. Who has time for TV when there are minions that need their asses kicked!
Distraction via dusty paint brushes. Or a dusty guitar. Or a dusty anything. Maybe your Wii remotes. Remember those?
And HEY! The house is also dusty. This is the perfect time to clean! The toilets, those crevices on the stairs! Fun, fun!
Also, YouTube! And blogging. Perfect time to binge draft some future blog posts, yep! (You know, for the next time you’re in the writer cave and forget about life.)
But guess what! There’s something else you can do while you’re waiting. You can obsess! As a professional obsesser, I’m going to help you obsess like an OCD person, minus the cringing from when your sister thinks it’s funny to tilt your iPad a few degrees while you’re eating lunch. (Which is not funny!)
#1 – Refresh your email every 15 to 30 minutes. It only takes a few seconds! Get those responses as soon as they come in!
#2 – Refresh your query list on QueryTracker once an hour to see if anyone has made a new comment on an agent’s page so you can predict when your query is next in line.
#3 – Stalk the agent’s Twitter feed to see if they said something that might have something, ANYTHING, to do with your query or manuscript.
#4 – Speaking of agents…analyze how long it’s taking them to get back to you. Did someone on QueryTracker send a query the same day as you and they got a rejection yesterday and you didn’t! Does that MEAN something?! Yes, yes, it does. Unfortunately, it means they either hate you and trashed your query already or they are so totally in love with your sample pages or novel that they’re waiting until their schedule is cleared out so they can call you and make an offer! There is no other explanation.
#5 – Freak out because you added a letter to the end of someone’s name! You’re definitely getting ignored on that one. Must throw a pity party and wallow for the rest of the day. Then see #3 for any mention of “DAMN AUTHORS CAN’T SPELL MY NAME RIGHT!” because it will most definitely be about you.
#6 – Make a fancy spreadsheet so you can keep up with your query responses despite the fact that QueryTracker is doing that for you.
#7 – Stalk the agency site and see if you can figure out how they’re going to respond to your query or novel based on the books the agency reps and the agent bio you read 15 times already.
And don’t worry. The fun doesn’t end when you sign with someone or shelve the perfect novel away. No way! You can obsess about publishers! You can obsess over reviews! In fact, the day your book drops, refresh your Goodreads and Amazon pages every 15 minutes to see what people are saying about you! ^_^
*Disclaimer: I have not done a single one of these things before ever in my life.*
Have a wonderful, awesome, snow-filled day. (Yes, I said snow…it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, you say, well, somewhere, I assure you, it’s snowing.)
Distraction: An Art Form.