It’s been a while since we last spoke about our writing journey and the publishing industry in general (besides, well, book releases!), but recently we began a new, shiny WIP and it is magical and fantastical and so different from anything we’ve ever written.
Which means, we’re really enjoying the writing process at this point. (The book hasn’t made us break down and cry … yet.) But, besides being a really fun book to write, it has become a bit of distraction. Not in a bad way–rather, it’s helping us move on and write another shiny manuscript that we finally have a passion for and don’t quit 10k in. We didn’t participate in NaNo last year because we were a part of #PitchWars (which we’ll hopefully have a blog post on in the near future!) and that month was crazy busy for … reasons. And then December rolled around, and we started this new project, and we wrote, and we stopped writing (holiday season, late exam) and then suddenly became refueled all over again toward the end of 2016. For days, we’ve been writing. Some days, we’ve written more than 5k. Others, 3k. Others, 1k. Either way, it’s been a really strong writing month so far (*coughs* only January 3rd *coughs*) and we’re definitely hitting our stride, despite the beginning of school.
Which is all cool and awesome. But.
If there’s something we don’t want … it’s to write this entire thing, edit too quickly, get beta readers and then edit too quickly again, and then …
Not take time. Not appreciate the work we have in front of us.
Of course, we’ve made our own deadlines. We’re excited about the project, so why wouldn’t we? And it’s really helping us to hit our quarterly goal (in terms of finishing this draft, editing, etc.). However, today I (Sasha) was surfing online and came across a few great blog posts on Patience in Writing and Publishing written by the wonderful author Lindsay Cummings, and decided to read them. Boy, were they helpful. I mean, I’ve read lots of things about how the publishing industry is slow, it’s painful, it’s tough. (Trust us, as self-pubbed authors as teens, even we know the value of taking time, perfecting craft, and … waiting.)
But that’s the thing. It’s a whole lot of waiting.
Which is to be expected. Books don’t come out for years at a time. In fact, we read another blog post today written by another fab author (Marissa Meyer) all about how often she wrote, worked, and even thought about Heartless while on tour. And she decided to record it all down. Her total? Over 700 hours. Yeah. Crazy. But … that book you’re currently reading? That author’s debut? It took them years too. Years to hone their craft. Maybe they went to school to get an MFA before writing. Maybe they jumped right in (like us!), and worked really, really hard to get their book on shelves or on your e-reader.
In terms of stats, the numbers surrounding queries in an agent’s inbox versus books they actually request versus clients they sign might seem … shocking for some. That is to say, agents get 1000s of queries in their inbox and sign around 3+ (it varies, I’ve seen some say up to 12!) clients a year. Not all agents have the same stats (hence: subjectivity!), but it’s true when agents say they only take on the best of the best. They simply don’t have time to work with everyone and anyone. It’s all about what they feel is best, who they think they might be able to sell the book too … and of course, whether or not they can champion the book–and the author–to the fullest potential.
The point is, authors write books and books and books until they hit the one. Some write the one … and suddenly to some it seems like: boom, agent! boom, book deal! That’s not always the case. Sometimes the process can be fast, but those cases are anomalies. One thing has stuck with me, truly: something that YA author Roshani Chokshi once said on Twitter (and I’m paraphrasing here, but it might be bang on!)–Twitter is a highlight reel. Social media seems to shout at readers these days and say, Look at all these published and soon-to-be-pubbed authors! There are so many! Never-ending TBR, here we come!
But there are writers out there who are working. Writing. And soon, they’ll be the ones on the shelves, the ones who were patient and hard-working and diligent and were lucky enough to find the right agent, the right publisher–ultimately, the right home for them and their book.
Unfortunately, this dream isn’t always realized immediately. Books don’t pop out from printers overnight. They’re carefully crafted, beautiful things. (I think we can all agree on that.) Which is to say, it takes a lot–and we mean a lot–of patience.
We’re working hard on that new WIP. We’re working hard on our #PitchWars manuscript too, trying to find the best agent for it. We’re coming up with ideas, spinning them around in our heads … we are writing. And writers, that’s the most important thing you can do. Before thinking “I want this now and this now and this“–the truth is it isn’t that simple, or fast. Your time will come, we promise. And when it does, it all will have been worth it.