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10 Things To Do Between Queries June 26, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Life Balance, Writing & Writers.

Wikipedia ~ Publishing (in Public Domain)

The best thing about traditional publishing is all the “free time” you’ll have while waiting to hear back from queried agents and publishers.  Here are 10 Things To Do Between Queries:

(1) Relax . . . Time Is On Your Side ~ many best-selling  American novels of the past 50 years have been penned by authors in their 50′s, 60′s and 70′s.

(2) Crunch the Numbers ~ compare author royalties from e-books with those the author receives from traditional print publications.

(3) Read articles about best-selling authors who fielded mountains of rejections before hitting it big ~ Louis L’Amour (350 rejections), John Creasy (774 rejections), Jack London (600 rejections), John Grisham (15 publishers and 30 agents turned down A Time To Kill), Dr. Seuss (27 publishers rejected his first book), Margaret Mitchell (25 publishers turned down Gone With The Wind), etc.

Wikipedia ~ Klondike Gold Rush (in Public Domain)

(4) Crunch more Numbers ~ writers opting for traditional publishing face long odds, but landing in a slush pile is better than dying in a pile of slush!

(5) Consider conflicting advice about writing ~ e.g., “If you write, you need a blog to promote your work” vs.  “If you blog, you’ll have no time to write.”

(6) Enjoy your Anonymity ~ As authors attract a fan base, they also attract negative attention from stalkers, crazed fans, hangers-on, and jealous idiots sending hate mail.

(7) Read success stories about authors who self-published ~ Richard Nelson Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute?, James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy, Strunk & White, The Elements of Style, John Grisham, A Time To Kill, Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box, plus . . . Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Benjamin Franklin, Rudyard Kipling, Henry David Thoreau, Anais Nin, Thomas Paine, etc.

(8) Eavesdrop on the Rooftop Literati ~ profit-hungry publishers know that ”name brand” authors sell books.  But times they are a-changing . . .

(9) Consider more conflicting advice ~ “Carve out a narrow niche” vs. “You must not bore your readers.  Variety is the spice of life.”


(10) Learn to Toot Your Own Horn ~ or, if you really want to garner attention at the next Book Fair . . . learn to play the bagpipes!

Bonus Tip:  Wear a kilt!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Self-doubt, self-publishing, and other selfish writer-isms (Eric J. Baker) * One Year Later ~ Self-Publishing Review (Christine M. Grote) * How to Promote Your Book For FREE (Global Mysteries) * How to Do an Author’s Book Event (Global Mysteries) *  What to do When a Publisher Rejects Your Novel  (Global Mysteries) * How to Make an E-Book Using Open Office * The Thrill of Victory & The Agony of Defeat!


1. Carl D'Agostino - June 26, 2013

I do 9 things after query/submission: worry, agonize, second guess, worry, agonize, second guess, worry, agonize, second guess.

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

I expect you are NOT alone in that regard, Carl. Except, wouldn’t it be: worry, agonize, second guess, worry, agonize, third guess, worry, agonize, fourth guess? 😛

Worry, of course, is interest we pay on a debt we may not owe.
And while hardship is inevitable . . . agony is optional. :mrgreen:

2. Pix Under the Oaks - June 26, 2013

Nancy I am here and reading. I am not a writer and not going to write or publish but there is always something to be learned here at SLTW!!

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

Thanks, Pix. We return to the regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. 😎

I came across these notes in my draft folder and decided to let them out into the fresh air since I know several folks who are “on the fence” about whether to find a publisher or be a publisher.

Pix Under the Oaks - June 26, 2013

As I said I always learn something.. 🙂

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

Thanks. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be serving Scones. 😀

3. kateshrewsday - June 26, 2013

Oooh, the bagpipes look a bit complicated to learn. Might opt for the sackbutt instead. It sounds so unlikely it must be fun.

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

What a name for an instrument that is played by pressing it against one’s lips!


If the sackbutt doesn’t suit, you could bring Clive Bond with you to book signings . . . dressed in a wee kilt. :mrgreen:

4. colonialist - June 26, 2013

Phone a selection of booksellers at staggered intervals asking if they have your latest book in stock. Say you think it is published by (here insert name of latest publishers to which you have sent your manuscript) and get snooty when they can’t find it. One needs to do a lot of different voices and accents for this, of course …
Finally, one hopes that enough booksellers will start asking the publisher about the book for it to register. 🙂

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

You are a cagey guy, Col! That just might work. 😀

colonialist - June 26, 2013

Wish I had the gall to try it!

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

If you give it a go, let us know. 😉

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

I would do Monty Python type voices . . . that way you can pin it on John Cleese or Eric Idle! 😛

colonialist - June 26, 2013

*wistfully* You don’t do Obama or Elizabeth R?

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

The best I can manage is “Penguin on the Telly” or “The Cheese Shoppe.”

I don’t really know how Obama sounds since we usually turn the volume down when politicians starts talking. 😛

5. http://spiritandscience.net/ - June 26, 2013

When you reach a certain age, self-publishing is probably the best option. I’d hate to die waiting for an agent to respond to a query!!

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

I read a story about someone who submitted her mother’s manuscript posthumously, and it was selected for publication on the very first try.

But, for those lacking in time (or patience), self-publishing is definitely a viable option these days.

6. diannegray - June 26, 2013

If your book is in a bookshop you go in and turn it ‘cover facing out’ instead of just the spine. These books catch far more attention – the people who work there will probably just keep sliding your books back in the slot, but you just go back the next day 😀

nrhatch - June 26, 2013

Brilliant! Especially great tip for authors who like to write in bookstores. 😉

7. Three Well Beings - June 27, 2013

Funny–but also really informative, Nancy! I still can’t get over the fact that Mark Twain was self-published. The stats you’ve listed are really fascinating. The truest words, “Times they are a-changing!” Thoreau? My, oh my!

nrhatch - June 27, 2013

Without further research, I can’t say if Mark Twain and Thoreau self-published because traditional publishers had rejected their work. It may have been a fairly straightforward process to walk into the printers shop and pay to have your manuscript typeset for distribution.

Great if you wanted your words heard sooner rather than later.

8. Grannymar - June 27, 2013

It almost looks like the real hard work only begins with the final full stop/period.

nrhatch - June 27, 2013

I think you’re right. For many writers, marketing their words is even less enjoyable than editing them.

Grannymar - June 27, 2013

I have two friends on this side of the pond trying to have books published. One has at least six books ready to roll, he began writing six years ago, as yet he has not found someone to publish them. One American agent was oh so positive, but the trail seems to have run cold.

nrhatch - June 27, 2013

Perhaps he should look into Create Space on Amazon. It might be just the thing for him.

9. sufilight - June 27, 2013

As always, I enjoy reading about publishing. Crazed fans? I never thought about this in regard to famous authors but it makes sense that there will be a few nuts out there.

nrhatch - June 27, 2013

I expect there aren’t nearly as many crazed fans as their are authors . . . but think of that Stephen King story, Misery.

That is one fan I’d be happy NOT to have in my camp! 😯

10. jannatwrites - June 27, 2013

This was a good laugh! Funny, writing another novel wasn’t one of the things on the list!

nrhatch - June 28, 2013

I think that having another writing project waiting in the wings is probably THE most important thing to do while waiting . . . besides biting our nails and pulling out out hair, of course. 😉

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