I did it. This morning I sent my completed novel to my agent. It feels incredibly liberating to get the book off my desk, and onto hers. Yay! Champagne and chocolate all around!
And then...we wait.
There's a lot of waiting in a writer's life. Waiting for your agent to read the book, waiting to hear back from editors. And if we should be so blessed to receive an offer, it can take days or weeks to actually seal the deal, and then months after that to get the actual contract, and even more months to get your first advance check.
So what do you do while you're waiting?
There is no rest for the wicked...aka, the writer. You start writing again, right away.
This was a hard lesson that I learned with my first novel. After it went out on submission, I procrastinated starting anything new. My reasoning was that soon I'd be under contract and have to do edits and what was the point of starting anything new only to return to the first novel? Well, that novel didn't sell. And I wasted about six months...six months that I could've used to write a good portion of a new book.
When WINTER FALLS went out on submission, I was determined not to make this mistake again. I threw myself into the Artist's Way program (a 12-step, 3-month creative recovery program) and took two online writing intensives back-to-back (Fearless Writer, which I highly recommend). It kept me creatively active during the long months that WINTER FALLS was on submission. About four months into this, I had the idea for the book I just sent to my agent, and started to dig deep into work on it, and get really excited about it. A few weeks later, WINTER FALLS sold.
That's not a coincidence, I don't think. It was only after my energy was directed into a new project that the old project sold.
There's so much that's out of our control in this business - whether editors will like our book, or if the market's right for it, or if readers will respond - that it's vital that we control what is in our power. That starts with where we put our energy. Do we put it into waiting around to hear back from agents and editors? Or do we pour our energy into the next book? Having done both, I can tell you that the latter is much more fun.
What's my next book? I have no idea. The world is my oyster. It can be anything I want it to be. And THAT feels incredibly liberating, too.
Nicole Maggi writes YA - paranormal, historical, and beyond. Her debut novel WINTER FALLS will be released in 2014 from Medallion Press. She's represented by the fabulous Irene Goodman of The Irene Goodman Literary Agency, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, their daughter Emilia (after the Shakespeare character), and two cats Sawyer & Hurley (after the LOST characters - yeah, she's a geek). Check out her website and follow her on Twitter!