Hurry Up and Wait

Today I had a publisher interested in my manuscript. You know, that one novel I wrote once upon a time. I had sent it to every major agent in the business, and received a resounding chorus of, “It’s definitely good, but not excellent.” To which, I inwardly responded with, “Isn’t that a better state than half of the books published out there?”

Eventually, I ran out of names of all the top agents in publishing. With nowhere to go, I shelved the project until I could think of a new plan. Or at least find the time, energy and focus to do yet another rewrite to achieve that illusive, “excellent.”

Then, one ordinary day, I inadvertently stumbled across a small, independent publishing house. Having fallen prey over the years to the scams that guise themselves as “vanity publishing,” I was all the wiser, and did some research. Overall, they seemed they might be a good fit.

So, I dusted off my marketing materials, and put together a proposal. I sent it off, and then I waited. And waited. And waited. I went through a break-up. I got a new job. I almost lost my apartment. I saved my apartment. I had Thanksgiving….Then, yesterday, I heard back. They wanted to see the full manuscript.

My heart fluttered. I dashed home, and pulled out the files. I reformatted. I changed a few verbs here and there. I decided the book sucked and needed a complete overhaul. I started the overhaul. I thought about changing the names of all the characters. I had a panic attack because it was two a.m. and I somehow felt I needed to get the manuscript to the publisher by the morning or they would forget who I am. (Irrational thinking, I know, but we writers are sensitive, melodramatic bunch).

So, this morning, I refused to read another word of the manuscript. I dashed it off to the publisher, took a deep breath and said, “Well, that was that.” Then, I slept off the adrenaline rush, woke up, and refreshed my e-mail about every ten minutes for an hour. More irrational thinking.

Realistically, it should be close to a month before I hear anything back. Publishing is a hurry up and wait business. I know this–it’s an industry cliche. Based on my brief forays into it over the years, I know this is true. But, it sure is excruciating.


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