The Art of Waiting… … …
There’s something to be said for self-publishing… less waiting!
If you’re going the traditional route and you’re either querying editors or your agent is sending proposals, you know what comes next…. waiting.
And then more waiting.
Especially now that things are moving at a slower pace, what are you supposed to do while you wait? Here’s a few things you should be doing while you wait for “the call.”
1. Work on your website.
Hopefully, some editor somewhere is intrigued by your proposal and they’ve decided to look you up. Have something for them to see. Take a look at the websites of some other authors in your genre. Immulate the things you admire. Get some ideas for pages and links. Make sure you have photos! Be professional–which doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money. If you have it, great, invest in yourself. If you don’t, there are tons of free and inexpensive website and design programs. I use WordPress and Canva. I love them. There are free versions as well as paid.
2. Build your social media presence.
This one is two-fold. Some editors will want you to be active on social media in regards to yourself as a writer even before you have a book out. Think Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come.” So, it’s important to do as much as you can now, even when it seems like you don’t have anything to promote. Remember, you’re promoting yourself, not just that one book. Talk about your writing journey, give snippets from your book, share things that matter to you. (If you blog, these things can be shared on your website, too).
This folds into the next reason for being present online. Your readers will want a genuine connections with you. So be there and be real. It’s not all about your book. Actually, you should post more often about other things and let the readers get a chance to know you as a person. It’s that connection to the real you that will make them want to buy your book. The most important thing is to be genuine and engaged. Decide on a few platforms (I’m mostly on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest) that you really like and that you’re actually going to spend time on and focus on those. Example: I know people LOVE Twitter, but I just don’t connect with it and although I have an account. I’m not on it much. I do have my blog set to link new posts to it, but I don’t really spend much time there. That’s ok. I can’t be everywhere AND be genuine and engaged. There just isn’t enough time.
Lastly on this subject, decide what things you’re going to post about on these platforms. A rule of thumb is to choose three subjects that truly interest you and that you love to talk about. Three things that are NOT your book. I talk a lot about coffee, my son and his dinosaurs, and food. Not that I’m limited to that, but having a “thing” that people associate with you is good. I get tons of tags about dinosaurs and I love it! I am truly happy when someone sees a dinosaur and thinks of me. People want to know you, and you will love the interaction of genuine connections
3. Attend readings/ be part of the community
Writing can be a very solitary thing if you let it. Don’t. Get out there and see what’s happening. Wait, you say…I can’t get out there. Yes you can. One silver lining to the times we find ourselves in is that so many bookstores are offering online readings. Check your local indie bookstore’s website and see what they’re offering. Then check other bookstores in your state or across the country. Zoom and live streaming are bringing tons of readings to your living room.
Read articles on writing, publishing, etc. Be aware of what’s going on in your chosen field. This is the business end of things after all. Be in the writing business. Check out places like Writer’s Digest. Publisher’s Marketplace, Poet’s and Writers, etc.
4. Take a course or workshop
When you’re able to, do this physically, but for now, look for online workshops and writing courses. It could be something that’s in real time via Zoom or other collaborative meeting platform, perhaps offered by local writers guild or university or if could be recorded masterclasses that you work through on your own. Google what you’re interested in and see what’s available.
5. Lastly… keep writing
While you’re waiting for this book to sell, stay in the habit and practice of writing. Draw up some outlines for possible new books. Write an essay. Write a poem. Writing something. Because when you do get that call that you have an offer on your book, your agent or editor will want to know, “So what else do you have….”
Waiting is part of the business. This is a slow moving industry until suddenly things are happening and you’re caught up in the wonderful whirlwind of your first book coming out.
The wait was worth it.