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.