Written by A Guest Author December 30th, 2020

What to Do While You Are Waiting for Publication

By Jenny England

Publishing is a slow and often long-drawn-out process. So, if your goal is to see your words in print out there for the entire world to read, you will need to strap yourself in and prepare for what can be a stressful but ultimately satisfying ride. Waiting can be one of the most uncomfortable components of publishing. Waiting for the submission windows to open. Waiting for an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission. Waiting for an acceptance or rejection. Then waiting for that all-important meeting with an editor to discuss the next step (probably the least stressful as, by then, you are already in).

In order for the whole process — including these awful waiting intervals — to be more like an edifying journey than a roller coaster ride, you may need some strategies to get you through. Here are a few to consider. 

  1. Relax. If you have honed your manuscript, article or story to the best of your ability and carefully followed all the submission guidelines, it is now time to relax, not worry about whether you have put commas in the right places or if your main character lacks depth. If your piece is taken up, all these things will be ironed out with an experienced editor. Try meditation or mindfulness if you are not used to calming your thoughts and anxieties.
  2. Trust. In order to relax you will need to trust the publishing process. Publishers know what they are looking for and if your work fits what they want, all will be good. If it doesn’t, it is not the end of the world. Maybe you need to find another outlet or work on your piece a bit more. If you are using an agent, you will need to trust their judgment too. They have the experience and contacts you may not have at this stage.
  3. Resist. There are a number of things you need to resist the urge to do while you are waiting. First and foremost is to resist contacting them unless they indicate a time when you can. It is also important to resist sending the work to another publisher unless the first one has indicated that they are happy to accept simultaneous submissions. Finally, resist sending any changes you have thought of in the mean time…they will hate that!
  4. Revisit. Waiting can be frustrating but they can also be perfect intervals to revisit some of your works that may have been rejected in the past. Rejections do not automatically mean that something is unpublishable, just that it might not be suitable for that particular publisher or needs more work. With fresh eyes you may be able to see what needs to be done to try submitting again. This time with improvements, to another publisher who might be more interested.
  5. Re-connect. Writing can be a very solitary and perhaps lonely pastime. Waiting times need not be lonely too. They are the perfect times to re-connect with family, friends and neighbors and have a bit of fun. Just enjoy the breaks!
  6. Start again. Once you have had a break, you may feel refreshed enough to start a new project or at least put some ideas together and do a little preliminary research. But make sure it is something that doesn’t add to any stress or anxieties and that you can put it aside if the work you have submitted does get accepted.

Finally, something to think about. Rejections often come back quicker than acceptances, as it usually takes longer for an acquisition team to consider submissions. If a piece is definitely not what they are after, they often get back to you sooner. Patience is definitely a virtue to develop while waiting!

When you feel how depressingly
slowly you climb,
it's well to remember that
  Things Take Time.
-- Piet Hien   

Bio: Jenny England is a writer and illustrator living in Kiama, Australia. Over the years she has worked as a journalist and has had numerous non-fiction articles published in a variety of magazines. Now retired she concentrates on speculative fiction for children. Her other hobby is international mail art.


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