Keeping Busy While Waiting
Books, short stories, and feature articles take a while to appear. As the release date approaches, I find it difficult to focus on writing new material when I’m in a Christmas-morning state of mind about something I finished writing months ago. When the release is large, a new book for example, there’s a lot of pre-release-date publicity. When the release is small, a new Kindle short story, one often says nothing about it until it goes live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
These days, waiting periods aren’t quite as bad as they used to be. Years ago, most magazines and publishers did not allow simultaneous submissions. An author could only submit a novel or a short story to one place at a time. In the days before e-mail and online submission systems, publishers might take six months before they replied by mail. The big downside of this, other than the endless waiting, was having a piece of writing stuck in limbo while somebody out there decided to accept it or not. Writers were lucky to show an unsolicited manuscript to more than three or four publishers a year.
Things move faster now. Online submission systems for magazines, agents and publishers save on postage and reduce waiting time. And now, almost everyone will look at simultaneous submissions. So, an author can send a novel or a short story out to dozens of magazines/publishers at the same time. Nonetheless, until somebody bites on the author’s figurative hook, there’s a lot of waiting.
Finding a new idea that truly resonates is the best thing I know to do to combat the sitting-around-and-waiting syndrome. If the new novel, article or short story is so compelling that an author cannot avoid working on it, then s/he has a very nice distraction to otherwise spending his/her days checking and re-checking e-mail and the mail box for news.
This requires a bit of multitasking, but then the Internet has gotten us used to doing a lot of things at once. Today, as I write this, I’m waiting for a new paranormal short story to go live so I can tell you what it is. But meanwhile, I have a very compelling trilogy of novels I promised my publisher I would have ready for release during 2013. I like staying busy. It beats waiting—and it means new things are always in the pipeline.
Malcolm R. Campbell, who compiles “Book Bits” links on this blog several times a week, is the author of contemporary fantasy novels and paranormal short stories available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other online booksellers. His novels are available for order by bookstores and for printing at stores with Espresso Book Machines.