Enduring the Wait

Waiting.

I’m the least patient person in the world. Okay, so probably not the least, but I have a hard time waiting for the waitress to bring my dinner to the table or waiting for my husband to come home from work.

So, the idea of waiting months and months and months to hear back on my book proposal that I had worked so hard on seemed torturous.

But, I didn’t have a choice.

When I submitted my book proposal to Rachelle, my agent, last July, I braced myself for a long wait and she surprised me by getting back to me in just a few short weeks. In fact, by God’s grace, I got “the call” from Rachelle on the same exact day that I had been delivered terrible news at work. A horrible day turned into a great one.

But while Rachelle believed in my project, we both knew it was going to be a long, uphill climb to get it sold to a publisher. After all, I was a first time author with no publishing experience.

Again, I braced myself for a wait.

A few weeks later, Rachelle emailed me to say that six publishers had shown interest and they were sending it for review. And she warned me that review could take months and months and months. So, I tried to put thoughts of the book on the back burner and go about my life.

Fall came and went and I heard nothing.

Christmas came and went and I heard nothing.

Then, on January 4th, 2010, I got an email from Rachelle. One publisher, Guideposts books was asking to have a conference call with me. Another publisher, Revell, was asking for some (minor) revisions before making a decision.

The next week, I hopped on the phone with Guideposts where they asked for (minor) revisions as well.

Two weeks later, I got “the call”. I had an offer on my book.

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of publishing-industry and author blogs and I’m learning that my wait (six months) is probably on the short end of normal. That said, at the time, it felt excruciating. In fact, my November, I had told myself that it was probably not going to happen and resigned myself to starting over with another book and another proposal.

Anyway, question for you authors: How long did you have to (or have you already) waited to hear from an agent? How long did it take to hear from a publisher?

37 Comments

  1. I haven't submitted to either yet, but it's interesting to hear your story! A good reminder that we aren't in control. :-)

    Reply
  2. Erin, may your story inspire and teach!

    Now…about that waiting…Ha Jin wrote a great novel called "Waiting." The protagonist spends his whole life WAITING…and wastes a lot of LIVING.

    My choice? Onward and upward DURING the waiting. Soon God finds plenty of things for me to do.

    Blessings, dear one.
    Patti

    Oh, your questions. I actually had my first contract before I had an agent! A bit different. I haven't spent much time waiting in this realm, which might be good as I didn't start writing until I turned 50!

    Blessings,
    Patti

    Reply
  3. Love your story. My wait was also quite short — but I'm also learning that selling and marketing your book is a whole different journey. For me, the easy part was the writing. Patience is so difficult.

    congrats!

    Reply
  4. I'm still writing my first MS so I can't answer this question, but I know how hard it is to wait. I submit my short fiction to literary magazines, and to some contests they host. Radio silence for five, six, seven months or more is excruciating. But like you said, that's normal for the industry. I consider my experiences training for when I'm ready for the query phase.

    :) Nicole

    Reply
  5. Love the graphics. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. My the Lord give you success and bless many moms with your book.

    Reply
  6. Hey Erin –

    My wait was super short from the time I went to my writer's conference until I had an offer. However… From the time I FIRST went to a writer's conference until I had a contract in hand it was 7 LONG years.
    Great post.

    Reply
  7. I loved reading and learning about your experience! Thanks for sharing, Erin.:)

    Reply
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