Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest Office, IL
Hooray, your proposal is finished! What should you expect during the next phase when you have to be vulnerable and submit the trophy of your efforts to the scrutiny of an agent or publisher?
First, to build your confidence, take a moment to reflect back on where you started in your journey toward your dream of being published–the learning and hard work you invested to arrive at this moment. You might be the writer who recalls that first writer’s conference you attended, where you gained a bird’s eye view of the publishing industry. The workshop leader gave valuable tips on preparing your book proposal.
Or you might be grateful to the editor you hired to polish your nonfiction proposal until it gleamed. You learned much in that process. Or perhaps it was your critique group—those writing partners who scrutinized the pacing, plot, and character development of your novel. They gave you honest feedback and suggestions, to which you listened and humbly responded with third and even fourth drafts.
You triple-checked your sample chapters for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Your favorite books on the craft of writing are already well-worn but still close at hand. The timing is good; your topic or genre is currently in demand by publishers.
So, what now?
Waiting. Waiting is hard work. (Aside: I look at the number of queries and proposals in my email folder that I need—want—to get to this week, and I grieve that I’m keeping you . . . waiting. But something urgent so often comes up that pushes proposals back a few more days . . . and then a few more. And I do have a personal life with family and friends that I need to balance with my work as an agent, which I also love. But I’ll be spending this weekend and others getting to those proposals.)
The waiting is worth every anxious moment when you hear the words, “I’m interested in talking to you about representation.” Hooray #2: You have an agent. Now you’re sailing!
So, what next?
More waiting. Your agent tells you the proposal is ready for editors’ eyes and strategically sends it to publishers. The excitement builds. You dream that your proposal glows as it rests on the editor’s desk. But your agent gives you a gentle reality check that editors have mountainous piles of submissions to go through. It could take a while.
When you were in the writing process, you were in the act of doing, and that used up your energy. What are you supposed to do with all your pent-up energy now as you wait?
Glad you asked. This is wide open time to work on building your social media presence. Contact churches, libraries, schools, and appropriate organizations and offer to speak to them about your book’s topic or writing in general. Attend as many writers conferences as you can afford and try to meet with editors, especially those to whom your agent has submitted your proposal. Face-to-face introductions are invaluable.
Above all, remember we are doing this for God’s glory and kingdom purposes. His timing is perfect. So take joy in the journey!
In what ways do you resonate with this scenario? Where are you in your publishing journey? Are you weary of the waiting, or do you keep busy making contacts to get your name and your book’s topic in front of people?