Throw yourself into critiquing others; attend a writer’s conference, webinar, or workshop; outline your next book; set up your author website.
If you’re waiting for an agent…
Start working on (or finishing) your next book; avoid reading too much into agents’ social media posts; tidy up your author blog or website or revamp for a new look; decide on a blog or social media schedule that you can keep up with.
If you’re waiting for an editor…
Strategize with your agent about next steps; ask your agent questions so you’re up to speed when you talk with editors; avoid reading too much into editors’ social media posts; keep social media contact with editors to zero or a bare minimum; polish up your next project.
If you’re waiting for your book to come out…
Plan your personal publicity and marketing roll out; schedule a call or visit with your publisher’s promotional team; talk to writer friends about what’s worked for them–publicity, keeping your sanity or otherwise!; deliver your second book before your first comes out to keep the noise out of your head.
If you’re waiting for reviews…
Step away from the comments, I repeat, step away from the comments.
Q: What do you do when you have to wait in the publishing industry?
Editing is a rare art. It ranges from developmental editing to substantive editing to copy editing and to proofreading. These are all different jobs that have different purposes. As an agent I’ve signed up for all four, but through the publishing process you’ll come to understand what each type of editor does and what the definitions mean.
Co-ordinating and editing a project from proposal or rough manuscript to final manuscript, incorporating input from authors, consultants and reviewers. May include budgeting, hiring, design supervision and project co-ordination.
Substantive or Structural Editing
Clarifying and/or reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure. Changes may be suggested to or drafted for the author. May include negotiating changes with author.
Clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, smoothing language and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing. May include checking or correcting reading level; creating or recasting tables and/or figures; negotiating changes with author.
Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation and other mechanics of style; checking for consistency of mechanics and internal consistency of facts; marking head levels and approximate placement of art; notifying designer of any unusual production requirements. May include metrication; providing or changing system of citations; writing or editing captions and/or credit lines; writing running heads; listing permissions needed and/or obtaining them; providing or editing prelims, back matter, cover copy and/or CIP data. May also include negotiating changes with author.
Fact Checking / Reference Checking
Checking accuracy of facts and/or quotes by reference to original sources used by author and/or from other sources.
Producing an alphabetical list of names and places and/or subjects and concepts, etc., that appear in a work.
Reading proofs of edited manuscript. Galley proofing may include incorporating and/or exercising discretion on author’s alterations; flagging locations of art and page references; verifying computer codes. Page proofing may include checking adherence to mock-up (rough paste-up), accuracy of running heads, folios and changes made to type in mock-up, checking page breaks and location of art, and inserting page numbers to table of contents and cross-references if necessary. May also include checking vandykes and colour mats (press proofs).
Co-ordinating typesetting and design in the mock-up and assembly stages; includes ensuring integration of design and content. May include actual mark-up, proofing, mock-up, page proofing, indexing and/or checking vandykes and colour mats. May also include locating, negotiating with and supervising designer, artists, typesetter, and printer and creating production schedule.
Everyone has heard the saying ‘you only have one chance to make a first impression.’ Well, unsurprisingly this is also true in publishing. You only have one chance to show an agent or editor you are serious about writing, that your work is of high quality and that it deserves to be published.
Here are a few examples of when first impressions matter:
Submitting your work to editors before you have an agent. This can be problematic if/when it’s rejected and it wasn’t in top form. Depending on the circumstance an agent may have to cross that editor off the list if they’ve already seen it, and even if the agent does resubmit to that editor the first impression has already been spent on a manuscript that wasn’t ready.
Submitting your manuscript to agents. First impressions with agents are equally important. If you have the wrong name at the top of your query letter, email an unprofessional rebuttal to your rejection letter, or have glaring mistakes in your manuscript agents will take this into consideration. If you cannot properly address a query letter how will you address a potential editor? If you dispute a rejection from an agent, how will you respond when your editor has revision comments? This all sets the tone for whether an agent wants to work with you and represent you. When an agent submits material on behalf of a client and introduces a client to their editor the agent’s reputation is also involved. We want to work with clients who are professional in their writing and interactions, always.
NaNoWriMo also known as National Novel Writing Month: Don’t query December 1st if the manuscript is freshly written. You only have once chance to make a first impression with an agent so if the work you’ve been doing over November hasn’t been edited or fully flushed out early December is not the time to query. Save it for when it’s ready.
Take your time, publishing is not a race it’s a long process so use strategy.