The Questions We Ask While We Wait

Yesterday Susan Adrian wrote a great post on what to do while you’re waiting, with tips like work, read and observe, as well as what NOT to do. After I retweeted it, a fellow writer emailed me to check in on my agent search. It’s nice to have other writers who are in the same stage, especially someone who’s read your work and knows what you’re submitting. We can encourage each other and commiserate about the wait. The interminable wait. The wait that seems as unending as the ocean (I had to find a reason to slip in a cruise photo). Anyway, here’s a view inside the questions writers ask while waiting.

  1. Is my manuscript really ready?
  2. I got a few comments back. Should I revise? Unless you’ve received a detailed revision request from an agent, I suggest you wait until you’ve heard from all agents, then synthesize the responses.
  3. Why hasn’t Agent X replied to me yet? QueryTracker says she’s answered five queries/submissions she received after mine!
  4. What does it mean that Agent X replied to everyone else’s contest submission but not mine? Likely he hasn’t replied to everyone else yet. It just seems like it.
  5. Is it a good or bad sign that I haven’t heard anything yet? (This question typically is followed by a list of maybes: Maybe she forgot about it. Maybe he’s having someone else read it. Maybe she’s thinking about it. Maybe he hasn’t gotten to it yet. …)
  6. Is that Twitter comment about my manuscript (or query)?
  7. Why isn’t Agent X online? I can’t stalk her Twitter feed or blog to figure out what she’s up to!
  8. Is this a form letter or actual feedback?
  9. Why am I getting rejections? Is it my query letter? My opening pages? A problem with my main character, plot, etc.?
  10. What does it mean that he didn’t connect with the voice?
  11. Why can’t Agent X tell me what kept her from falling in love? I know the answer to this one. Obviously agents don’t have time to give specific feedback for each rejection, but that doesn’t stop me from asking the question.
  12. Should I follow up? It’s been seven months … I actually have one out that long for CAVEBOY. Assuming it’s a pass :).
  13. How long will I have to wait?
  14. Everyone else is getting an agent. When will it be my turn? Everyone else is NOT getting an agent. It might seem that way, though, especially if you’ve connected with a group of experienced writers online.
  15. Should I give up?

The answer to that last question is obviously “No!” Go back to that handy list I linked to above for some ideas on how to make the wait bearable.

Any questions I’ve missed? If you’re waiting, how do you pass the time?

Responses to “The Questions We Ask While We Wait”

  1. kiperoo

    Soooooo true! Both this list and Susan Adrian’s. What would neurotic writers do without lists like this? *whistles* *waits*


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