If there’s one thing I need as a writer it’s patience. There’s a lot of waiting in this business. You send out a query and you wait. If they ask for a partial you hurry and send it and then you wait. If they then want a full manuscript you send that and…you guessed it…you wait. And you wait and you wait and you wait. Sometimes you get a quick “no thank you” response, but even with a rejection you often have to wait, possibly months.
Right now I’m waiting to hear back from an agent on my novel, Mary Bishop. She’s very busy. I know this because she’s currently not accepting unsolicited submissions. (Mine was requested.) I’m trying to be patient but it’s not easy. A whirlwind of questions keep playing through my mind: Did she receive it? Maybe she didn’t see it in her no doubt overloaded email. When do I decide she isn’t interested? Is it ok to write a quick follow-up email? What if she was considering asking for more and now I just annoyed her by pushing so she says no thank you?
We live in a world of instant gratification so none of us like to wait. If you finish reading your current book after store hours you can get another with just a click of an electronic button on your e-reader. If you decide you want to watch a movie but don’t want to go out in the rain, or maybe there’s nothing of interest playing at the local Cineplex, there’s always Netflix or Hulu or one of the many other movie-streaming sites. You can get almost anything with a click of a button.
Add to that the issue of self-worth. We all think we’re special. After all, our parents say so, our teachers, the media. Psychologists everywhere espouse the importance of making everyone feel equally talented, equally important. Everybody wins; nobody loses. Your children play sports? Rest assured they will come home with a trophy at the end of the season…even if their team finishes dead last and your kid couldn’t catch, kick, or hit a ball if their life depended on it. Afraid that college course is a little too hard and your child won’t pass after all the money you spent on tuition? Afraid a failing grade will make your child feel bad? Don’t worry. Some college professors no longer give grades.
Yes, I could self-publish my book. I could upload it onto Amazon…and then wait. Wait for all the orders to come pouring in, or not. A lot of people do that. I’ve read some very good self-published books. But I’ve also read even more bad ones. I’d hate to find myself in the latter group because I didn’t have the patience to wait for an agent or editor to give me a thumbs up, and questioned the intelligence of those who gave me a thumbs down.
So I’ll keep waiting. And if this agent isn’t interested, or doesn’t reply in a reasonable amount of time, I’ll just move on to the next person on my list. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on my next book. I have to believe someone will eventually recognize my greatness. They can’t possibly all be clueless.