Last week, I joked about how you could survive the “Requested Material Waiting Game”. Today, I’ll tell you what you should really do during this point of your journey to publication. In case you missed the post, I’m referring to the period when an agent has requested your full manuscript, and you’re waiting to hear back from her.
What should you do in the meantime? How can you keep yourself from checking your e-mail every few minutes?
Here are a few things you can try:
-Write a list of questions you want to ask the agent in case she calls. Have the questions ready on your computer or by your desk so you don’t have to search for them if the agent dials your number.
-Query other agents. Don’t sit there waiting for this agent to get back to you. She might take three months or longer, then end up rejecting the manuscript. Now, you’ve lost that time. However, if another agent requests your full, you should tell her an agent is reading it, and let the first agent know another agent has requested it. You don’t necessarily have to name names, but you should mention the agencies so the agents know to take you seriously. Translation: If you have a request from an agency that is known for taking advantage of authors by charging them reading fees or doing other types of scams, the agent won’t worry about the competition. But, if you tell her that an agent from “Top Dog Agency” (fill this in with a real top agency), she might push your book to the top of her reading list.
-Start working on the next book. Agent hunting can take a long time, so it only makes sense to get moving on another story. Who knows? You might have it completed before you find an agent. Just think of the time lost if you hadn’t gotten started while waiting on your requested material.
-Create a website, blog, and social media platform. The sooner you get this going, the better. If you already have a website, take a peek at it again. Does it need revamping? Is it doing the job you want it to do? Does it look professional?
-Attend workshops and conferences. An author should never stop learning, and conferences offer both the opportunity to grow as a writer as well as network with other authors.
-Read. Read. Read.
-Keep yourself busy. Try to forget your requested material is out there. While some agents get through submissions within a month, most don’t. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you sit by the phone or e-mail for months. When the moment is right, with the right book, and the right agent, you’ll get THE CALL. Until then, continue to live your life as you always have.