How to Survive Your Journey to Publication 101

Agent#1 had requested my full manuscript two months ago. In one of her interviews she stated that it took her two to three months to review a full manuscript. So I decided I would wait one more month before emailing her to check up on the status of my book. Because, otherwise, I’d be stuck waiting unproductively, blindly, as I had given her the exclusive she’d requested (meaning, I wouldn’t be able to query to other agents while my work was up for review—this allows agents not to be under the pressure of having the material stolen from them while she read). 

However, though I tried to play the Waiting Game with an optimistic spirit, my patience began to wear thin. And this Sunday was the worst. I had a dream that an email from the agent had arrived, offering representation. The dream was so vivid that I thought it had really happened. So when I woke up I checked my email account, assured that the email from her was there—only to find that my mind had played a mean, mean prank on me. My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach.

I went to church that day, pinning a fake smile onto my lips, and so naturally no one noticed how miserable I was feeling. The only evidence of the stress I was under was the cold sore on my lips. Being patient is just so hard, especially when your entire ambition, your dream, is hanging onto that one email or phone call from the agent, informing you whether or not she loved your work enough to contract it. I, of course, knew that if she rejected me, there would be others; but during the time in which a writer must wait, hope naturally builds. And I was growing afraid of how I’d deal with rejection. Because, two months… really …. If she loved my work I knew she’d have contacted me within a few weeks. At least, that was the case for my other agented writer friends.

Anyway, I was miserable. But then Cristina gave me a present—The Little Prince. It’s the book she has been telling me to read for some time now. Inside the cover, she had written: Dear June, May you be completely touched by the magic of this story. This act of complete random kindness moved me so much. It was just what I needed to chase away the gloom that had been looming over me for the past few weeks. It was a present that told me that I was remembered and not forgotten. That I existed.

I began reading the book today. And, indeed, the book was magical. Never in my life would I have imagined myself tearing up over the love story between a boy and a flower. But I did. And while reading the book, I felt like a child again, I felt that appreciation for the simplest things in life. You can’t imagine how surprised I was with myself when my heart twisted into a knot by the end of the story. It was oh-so-sad! I wish I could tap into my feelings and try to put into words WHY I was feeling what I was. But I can’t seem to. Maybe you guys, who have a better understanding of the book, will explain to me why the story is so magical. I guess, maybe, it’s the significance the book places on a individual life.

ANYWAY. While I was nearing the end of the book, I received an email on my blackberry. It was….from AGENT#1!!! It was a short message saying that my book was next in their stack for reading and whether the book was still available. I had to calm myself for a few seconds before replying YESS YESS IT IS!!!!—but, of course, in a more professional manner. I asked her how long it would take before I received the final consensus, and she replied that it wouldn’t be much longer!

How weird is it that this email arrived right after the day I had been feeling SO hopeless? …I don’t believe in coincidences. Of all the days—it was today that the email came, the day when I felt so lost on my road to publication, not knowing whether I should just start querying again, assuming I’d been rejected, or whether I should just continue to wait without knowing WHAT I was waiting for.

But, more than that, I realized how pointless worrying was. I had put myself through psychological torment, doubting myself, hoping, then telling myself I shouldn’t hope—when actually all of those emotions would have served no purpose at all. My manuscript was in the stack, yet unread, during the two months in which I had been worrying.   

The Waiting Game requires fortitude, I realize. And lots of confidence—a confidence that even if you are rejected, it won’t matter, as it only means that you need to query some more to filter out the uninterested agents until you find The Literary Agent. Hope and the love for your manuscript—these two factors are the key to survival.

And before I end this entry, I’d like to give a shout out to Sarah J. Maas, a fellow Let The Words Flow contributor, whose book THE QUEEN OF GLASS has been sold to the major publishing house BLOOMSBURY!!!! And also, congratulations to fellow Historical Romance writer Rika Ashton for finally having taken the next step to publication—querying to agents! The best of luck to the two lovely ladies.

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24 Comments

Filed under Querying, The Runaway Courtesan

24 responses to “How to Survive Your Journey to Publication 101

  1. I love the Little Prince so much. That book, oh goodness. It’s all metaphorical, and it’s a comment on human nature. It strips away all pretense until you are, once again, a pure hearted child, looking at the world with all the superficiality sloughed away. You see what is important, love in all its different and necessary forms. The love of friendship, the responsibility required by love, love’s often sacrificial nature, false love, pride and vanity. It’s such a beautiful story. I had my daughter read it some time ago. And yes it is sad, but in a way, that’s part of the magic of it. It takes away the taint of the world so that we can once again feel pathos. I think that’s a gift.

    OK, well, I’m glad you heard back. I can totally relate to that. Last month I was panicking because I’d gotten nothing but silence…was my work a disappointment after all? Nope. The news was the same as yours. Still sitting in the pile. Now I’m so immersed in something else, I’m not sure I care. Well, I do care, but the journey is long and arduous even at the best of times. But you’re far ahead of me, June. I’ve got four projects all in different phases, no agent, nothing iminent, lots of friends who love and support me. And that’s all I dare to ask for at present.

    But that email’s coming. I know it. So hang in there. xx

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    • “It strips away all pretense until you are, once again, a pure hearted child, looking at the world with all the superficiality sloughed away”

      Wow, you nailed it. I think the pure honesty of how the world was depicted was what really got to me.

      Well Val, at least you HAVE four projects. At least you know you’re able to write more than one good story. The new project I’m working on seems to be a recycle of ideas and characters from TRC.

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  2. Lua

    June, I’m so excited for you, I can’t even begin to tell… I hate the “Waiting Game” mainly because I suck at it but I admire your courage and patience with this process.
    Little Prince is one of my all time favorite stories! It’s always on my nightstand and whenever I feel like I’m loosing my hope, that I’m acting foolishly with this dream of mine and when the “grown ups” who are telling me to “grow up” and “get a real job” start to sound like they may have a point, I reach for it and it always makes me feel better… It makes me feel like I’m not alone and that those “childish dreams” of mine are something to cherish and pursue.

    I hope you’ll hear the good news without having to wait any longer… I know how difficult it is; the waiting, the hoping then trying not the hope and building million scenarios in your head but at the end it will be all worth it when we get to read your amazing book! 🙂

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    • It’s so good to know that I have you cheering for me! I have my pom poms out for you too.

      “I know how difficult it is; the waiting, the hoping then trying not the hope and building million scenarios in your head….” The scenerios that form in my mind make it particularly difficult for me. Because it gets me so impatient!! haha.

      I, too, shall keep Little Prince by my side. Who knew a children’s book, comprised of simple sentences, could be SO powerful? Amazing, really. And you’re dreams aren’t childish–aspiring to become a freelance writer, right? I say that’s brave and admireable! You’ll leave a mark on the world for sure…(speaketh the writer who has the same aspiration as yourself).

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  3. I love The Little Prince. It’s a magic book. It’s in one of my first posts on FLY HIGH!
    It’ll do you great good to read it, June. Hold on. It’s just a question of time. Very little time. I bet on it.
    Fingers crossed for you.
    MG

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  4. 🙂 I don’t believe in coincidences either. God bless you, my dear friend.

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  5. The Little Prince (along with The Giving Tree) is among the few books that will make me cry every time. It reminds you what’s real, and the recognition that what is real isn’t what we spend so much energy obtaining…it’s beautiful and heartbreaking.

    I know what you mean about patience…it’s so hard. Waiting is torture. Putting a happy face on it only works for so long, and then once a month I have a miniature breakdown, read something sad, cry, and go back to the happy face. I’m quite sure this is an unhealthy way to approach things, but I haven’t gotten completely mad yet, so I’m sticking to it. I start to welcome the idea of rejection, momentarily, if only to get an answer!

    The worst isn’t even the waiting game, but its awful side effect, the guessing game. Why hasn’t she responded yet? If she really loved it she’d respond. Maybe she’s getting a second opinion because she loves it but isn’t sure about taking it on and that’s why it’s taking so long. What if she lost it. Maybe she lost it. That could drive a person mad.

    Sigh. Can you tell I’m getting a little waiting-weary, too?

    Am still holding tight that you’re going to get that email (yes, THAT one) very soon 🙂

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    • UGGHHHH!!! The GUESSING game is BRUTAL!! Like Lua said, we spin up all these scenerios, all contradictiing each other (the agent loving it and showing it to others, the agent hating it and thus forgetting to even respond etc.,) that writers are bound to go nuts with curiousity. Just end our pain and tell us whether you love us, or to hit the road.

      ah yes. You’re waiting on that agent too. She/He has the full MS, does he? Oh man oh man. How long has it been anyway? I think after the three month marker you should email the agent and check up on your work.

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      • Ug, waiting. Waiting on two agents now–one (she)has had it almost four months (gah!) and I checked in at two months per her request. Will probably check in again after the four month mark slogs past. The other (he) has had it less than a month, so I know I’ve got a long wait expected there. So I feel you 🙂

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      • EEEEeee. ALMOST four months?! It’s not like your book is 10000000 pages!!! But I hear Agents are uber busy. They have other manuscripts to read first *COUGH* and conferences to attend and clients ti wirj with and.. and… I’m sure there so much more. Otherwise she would have replied back to you in a jiffy saying I WANT!

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  6. Congrats June (because EVERYTHING positive in the industry deserves a huge Congratulations!)

    Waiting is definitely the most difficult part. Sometimes I think it’s even harder than the definitive knowledge of a rejection.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you, and expect nothing but a big, fat yes!!!

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    • You’re right. Waiting is harder than the “definitive knowledge of a rejection.” Like the other girls said, when waiting, you’re torn apart, not knowing whether to hope or to prepare yourself for bad news. And really is nerve wrecking. It’s like standing on the edge of a cliff. Well, not that dramatic. But. You get the point.

      ooooh how I would love a BIG FAT YES!!!!

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  7. I’m so happy for you June! I’m following your journey to publication for a short time, but I’m really happy for you! And I have to agree with Cristina here…

    I need to read “The little prince” again. I read when I was 9 and didn’t like it. Maybe that’s why, I was probably too young, so I’ll give it another try.

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    • Aww I’m so glad I met you (via blog, haha). Thanks so much for the support!!!!

      I read a few pages of The Little Prince when I was young and didn’t like it too much. I’m glad I read it again. The story is so much more powerful when read as a “grown up” because you’re able to read between the lines, and you come to this book, knowing the superficiality of the world, and thus to encouter a book so…..child-like–it truly is refreshing!

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  8. Congratulations!! I will keep my fingers crossed for you 🙂 … and take a lesson. I am currently TERRIBLE at playing the waiting game. Hats off to you again.

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    • Ho hum. Keep those fingers crossed really really tight! haha. I’m terrible at the waiting game as well. But practice makes perfect, right? I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve grown a stronger backbone–slightly.

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  9. So, I’ll admit—I’m more of a stalker of this blog than a commenter (totally not in the literal sense >.>), but I just really felt the need to comment on this post and say that I think you’re absolutely right, in all aspects—you’ve got to have faith in your manuscript, because it’s really all you can do as you wait.

    Good luck with Agent#1—I’m rooting for ya! =D

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    • I. Love. Blog. Stalkers 😀

      But yes. Faith in ones manuscript is the only way a writer will survive. It’s the only thing that will keep a writer going when a flood of rejection letters threaten to drown them. And it’s the only thing that’ll motivate a writer to go through revisions again and again, at the request of an agent, and then a publisher.

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  10. Kim

    BOO!
    I envy you your perseverence and positive outlook (although I know it strays to the darker side sometimes, but it’s okay). I really do hope Agent 1 signs you up, that way I wouldn’t have to wait any longer to buy your book…selfish I know! Haha.

    Sarah is a luck sod (and deserving).

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    • You can be as selfish as you want in this case! haha. I can’t wait to get my hands on the ARC of TRC (oh, rhymes) and send it off to Australia where my book might bask under the hot Australian sun

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  11. Happy Easter kid and keep on writing.

    Dr. B

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  12. good luck with this by the way! I hope everything turns out for the best. I am sure it will! 🙂

    Like

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