For those writers who seek publication, a few things are needed. Okay, so there are probably one hundred and twelvity things writers need, but you get my drift. One: a fierce, masochistic determination. Two: an aching, unquenchable desire to tell stories. And three: the patience of a saint.
My own journey into the world of publishing has taught me a few things about patience.
Long story: I started writing my first novel length manuscript in the June 2009. I was done drafting and revising in July 2010, all the while educating myself on the querying process for finding an agent. In August 2010 I sent my first query letters and after sixty-some rejections and taking it to a conferences where other writers and editors read it and critiqued my writing for the first time (ever), I shelved the manuscript. I understood then that it was definitely my “practice” manuscript. I started my second manuscript in February 2011, met my first critique partners at another writing conference, and after a lot of rewriting, I started querying it in October of 2011. In February 2012 one of my top pick agents requested the full then eventually asked for and R&R (revise and resubmit). She eventually became my agent, but not until she offered representation in December 2012. I landed a book deal the summer of 2013, but not for the manuscript that snagged my agent. That deal wasn’t announced until January of 2014 (because I was still writing it) and my debut novel, ANOMALY, book one in a series, released in November 2014.
Short story: It took me over five years from the time I started my first manuscript to the release of my debut young adult novel. Some would argue five years isn’t long. And really, it’s not. But at the time, in those moments when my dream hung on a yes or a no, it seemed like an eternity.
At every point in my journey, patience was key.
Writing as a newb: I had to have patience as I learned how to write. My background was in education and reading, not writing per se.
Honing craft: There was still much to be learned (and there still is) about how to construct an engaging story, how to transport readers into another world. Critique partners and beta-readers challenged me, which in turn caused much introspection.
Dealing with rejections from agent & editors: I was told no. A lot. In total, I was told no over 170 times before I found an agent. I waited about sixteen-months in total on answers from agents, whether it was a no, a partial request, a full, or a revise and resubmit.
Patience with the business: Once I had a book deal, I learned the business side of publishing was also a slow process. From communication and edits and cover reveals to publicity and everything in between.
Sometimes I think I was meant to write, not only because I have a passion for it, but because I was supposed to learn this powerful lesson in patience. And the thing I still struggle with daily as an author is patience – especially patience with myself. I remind myself, sometimes hourly, that anything of quality or value takes time. Projects. Relationships. Communication. Learning. Practicing. It all takes patience.
So, whether you are new to this writing thing or are a vet, my advice is this: Good things come to those who…work their ass off and have patience.
Tonya Kuper’s debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger’s Consortium young adult scifi trilogy was released November 25th 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband and is a music junkie, a chocolate addict and a Star Wars and Sherlock fan.
Come find me on social media and say hello. I love meeting other writers!