Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Top 10 Things to do While Waiting

Publishing is all about waiting.  It's the nature of the beast. You wait for critique partners to get back to you.  You wait for your agent to read and get back to you.  You wait for editors to get back to you.  You wait for ARCs and covers and everything you can think of.  My journey from the first moment I conceived of The Deathday Letter in July 2008 until publication June 2010 was 1 year and 11 months.  A blip by publishing standards, but forever to me.

Since writers will spend an awful amount of time waiting, I thought I'd share the top ten things to do while waiting for whatever publishing thing you're waiting for.

10.  Stalk your agent/editor/crit partners on Facebook/Twitter/their blog.  The trick here is to be subtle about it.  If your agent is reading the first draft of your fab new manuscript, dropping comments on their blog asking if they read anything good lately, is pretty unlikely to win you any points.  Nor is asking your agent what they're up to over the weekend and following it up with, "Oh, you're probably really busy reading, aren't you? Wink, wink."  Stalk from a distance and remember that if you can't be subtle, be a little bit crazy.

9.  Google yourself.  Google alerts are great but they're not nearly as satisfying as a real time search that brings up obscure links to your book being sold in a Malaysian veterinarian's office.  For an extra thrill, perform the same search on Yahoo, Bing, or hit them all simultaneously at Dogpile.com

8.  Write blog posts. They don't have to be lucid or rational, they just have to be made of words.  Much like this blog post.  Oh damn.  Bonus points for writing a post that designed to lure in the trolls.  Post must include the words: always, never, hate, or Twilight.  Example:  Ebooks are never, ever going to be as popular as print books. Twilight sux.

7.  Watch your Amazon rank and cry into your vodka bottle.  The less said about this shameful practice, the better.

6.  Tweet random things about your life.  Great examples include:  My cat likes to eat my toes.  For bonus points, create poems out of your tweets:
I ate corn
Corn is yellow
I'll be seeing that corn
again tomorrow.

5.  Go to the gym. Let's face it.  Waiting's tough.  You probably ate a box of Ring Dings just reading the first five items on this list.  If you need help finding motivation to run, call 1-800-Rent-a-bear.  Then run. Oh dear god, RUN!

4.  Change out of your pajamas and go bird watching.....I'm only kidding.  Put the knife down or I'm calling the bear again.

3.  Reorganize your writing desk.  Make sure when you clean it, you pay special attention to that oily spot in the center where you banged your head at least once per day.

2.  Check your reviews on Goodreads.  Bonus points for creating fake personas and arguing with any and all bad reviews.

1.  The number one thing to do while you're waiting is:  write another book.  Because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results, and everyone knows that writers are the most insane of all.

On the flipside, just remember, when you're agent/editor/crit partner gets your manuscript back to you in record time, they like to be paid in cupcakes.


  1. Hilarious list, Shaun. Oh, and I'm finally reading your book now that I've pried it out of my 16 year old's hands. I am LOVING it, dude! You are da bomb! Have I used enough exclamation marks?



  2. Ha! I especially love #5. RingDings look like something I could pass the time with.

    Whoa - my word verification is "verse". Portentous?

  3. Crying in vodka is wrong. Even if it's very cheap vodka. I find waiting trepidatious myself, especially when I think things like "I'm probably going to know one way or another in 48 hours." Where's that vodka? Stop crying!

  4. It's a good thing I combat peed before I read your list, cause I probably would've had an accident. I loved 10, just because I've thought about doing it, but thankfully didn't. When I did 9, I admit, I was worried what would come up. But thank goodness that one incident in Cancun, with the girls, the bank, the money, the midgets, the parrot, and then the cops, didn't show up. I think I'll just stick with number one.

  5. #6 is my fav. here's my tweet:
    I have a thin person.
    she lives inside me.
    but i keep her sedated with chocolate.

    dude- that so doesn't sound right.

    ah well - where's that chocolate?

  6. I arrived at your blog because I googled always, never, corn and dogpile and this post came up!
    Funny list!

  7. I've finally plucked up the courage to read it and really enjoyed it. So I reviewed it on amazon.co.uk.

    How you managed to write such an upbeat book about death really beats me. I love the voice of the narrator.

  8. LOL! Oil spot on the desk. Too funny! And what's wrong with bird watching, pray tell?

  9. Holy crap, I just laughed so hard I cried :D and #7 is my new secret shame. Except I cry into my Rootbeer :D

    I am, however, exercising my insanity and working on not one, but two new books. Ha! We'll see how it turns out :D

  10. Eric: You know, I seem to be addicted to !!!!! too. Maybe it's a writer thing. I try not to use them in my books, so they all come out in my blog posts.

    Shan: Remember ring dings? In the tin foil? I loved those. Yum.

    Blythe: LOL! Too true. It should be a crime to waste vodka.

    Jared: LOL!!! Now I'M going to have to go Google your name.

    Aime: Chocolate sedation should be an option at the dentist's office.

    Kelly: Whoa. I'm afraid to know what you were ACTUALLY trying to find ;) Glad you're here!

    Fairyhedgehog: YAY! You're my first UK reader that I know of. Thanks for the review! Death shouldn't be scary, you know :)

    Sarah: Nothing wrong with birdwatching. But If I didn't have a day job, I'd probably live in my PJ's.

    Michelle: TWO? You're nuts but awesome. How do you keep things straight?

  11. Hillarious! Is it just me, or does "google yourself" sound naughty?

    I love the tidy the desk part - esp. the oil-mark. ROFLMAO. Puts me in mind of the muppet pianist who would always go, "Mary had a little.....eh....doggie? No. Kitty? No. Mary had a little.....OH I'LL NEVER GET IT!" and then he'd bang his head on the piano keys making an awful cacophony. *sigh* Good times. If only I had an electronic keyboard I could fish out and place right in front of my laptop.....might come in handy.


Keep it clean, keep it classy, and jokes are always appreciated.