Saturday, June 18, 2016

Waiting Games

Deciding to query is terrifying. What comes after is...kind of anti-climatic. It's mostly waiting. You send out queries everyday (or every week, whatever your chosen schedule is) and then you wait. Some agents might respond to say no, some might not respond at all, some might get back to you with more optimistic answers (like asking for a full manuscript). But in the end, a lot of it is just waiting, and there's nothing you can really do to make that go faster.

I thought waiting would be horrible. I've never been very good at it. I sucked at waiting for my viva and got more and more anxious as the weeks went by. I was pretty bad at waiting for exams to happen too. And I've never been great at waiting for vacations, especially when they involve international travel.

But I've gotten much better at it now. Hurry up and wait is pretty much a motto of this whole thing, I'm discovering, because even once you're signed there's waiting for publishers to be interested, waiting for editors to get back to you, waiting for the launch, waiting, waiting, waiting. Patience is definitely a virtue of the publishing industry. There's mostly long stretches of nothing, interspersed with short moments of exited terror. Which is life in a nutshell, isn't it?

As always, however, waiting is much easier when you keep busy, and I've definitely been keeping busy. Formulating a business plan is a long thought process and one I'm very familiar with, even if I'm not familiar with business plans. PhD-ing is 80% in your head and only 20% content to show for it (or less, some days). This feels the same way. A lot of months of thinking and planning before there is any pay-off, and publishing appears to be the same way. I am not surprised by this fact.

So I am waiting, hopefully for a good day to come. Until then, I'm keeping busy doing things that I hope will also one day lead to good things. After a year of feeling stuck in the mud, it's good to be walking along the trail again, even if I don't know where that trail is leading.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Business Plans

I have something to admit. I don't have a head for business. I never have. I've never wanted to. Having said that, I've always been fairly decent at math.

I've spent the last two weeks reading about business plans. They are simple, at face value, but actually crafting one is much harder! So far, I've got the headings in place, and a short paragraph about what I need to include in each section. But there are sections I haven't even been able to give thought to yet. In other words...this is going to take a while. But that's all right. Business plans should not be rushed. I want it to be a good, solid plan as I go forward, because that's the foundation I want to build on.

It is simply the first step in a long process. I am going to start keeping a document with blog posts about what I'm going through, and once I've gotten further in this process (realised my mistakes) I'll start posting them on a new blog, so other people can learn from my stumbles and also what worked for me! I hope it might be useful. So look out for that in a couple of months (probably the autumn). I'm also going to try my hand at setting up a whole website, with a blog page, and several other areas that can grow over time. I shall also have to learn how to do that.

Just like everything else in life, it's a learning curve. I kind of feel like starting my PhD all over again, except instead of a degree with an end point, this is the rest of my life! But that makes it more exciting.

So, further up and further in. One baby step at a time.