Do you know what I hate more than waiting? Nothing. I think if everyone is honest, nobody likes to wait. In case you are wondering, I’m not a millennial; I was born back in 1966. When I went to college in the mid-1980s, computer science classes in college still taught punch cards. I remember life before microwave ovens, and I even remember when color television was starting to become more mainstream rather than something the wealthy could afford.
That still does not change the fact that I despise waiting. For me, this is about control. I can control the moment I am in, but I am unable to control the future, I can only wait to see what the future brings. Why is this important? Because the speed of writing is a lot about waiting. If you are like me, it is hard to accept the waiting periods.
When you first start a book, there is a lot of activity; research, drafts, self-editing, and probably some serious rewriting and possibly even changing plot points, if you write fiction like me. However, all that changes when you ship your book to your beta readers. Depending on its length, you could be waiting around two to four weeks for a response. Yes, you can start work on another book, but I have discovered that it is a bad idea.
You need to focus on creating the first copy ad ideas for your new book and map out your advertising strategy. A lot of this work is more mental and may look to the outsider like daydreaming. Finally, your book returns, you make your changes and send it to your editor. Now you have another month. At this point, it is back to advertising and beginning to plan out the launch.
The book returns for more self-edits and cleanup. Finally, you send your manuscript to the proofreader, interior designing, etc. etc. At this point, you may think, “Where is the waiting?” It is right now. Much like fishing from the bank with bait, you sit and wait and watch. Your ads need to run for a couple of weeks to see if they will begin to catch on. You sit and wait on your keywords to take hold over the next sixty to ninety days. You may do minor tweaks, but there is a lot of waiting.
For me, I used this time to start another book; in some ways, that was a good tactic because I needed more books released. Today, I have two novels and two short story collections for those efforts. However, my sales have been anemic as I did not focus on my sales strategy. Also, many of my readers informed me that the hectic pace is making it hard for them to keep up with my books. That is important because a frustrated reader will eventually give up.
Waiting is hard. Do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes. Slow down, take the time to do the marketing and love each book like it is the last one you will write. Taking the time to focus on advertising will ensure a greater audience, and frankly make writing more enjoyable.