Top ten things to do while waiting for a response from a publisher

The following is a mostly accurate account of some of the things I did while waiting to hear back from the publisher to whom I’d sent off the manuscript of my first poetry collection. If you have a representative, I suppose there’s a number 11, which is ‘Don’t pester your agent every 15 seconds’.

  1. Pour yourself a glass of wine / beer / sugary soft drink. You’ve done something amazing, attaching that Word doc then pressing Send on the email.
  2. Give your writing hand a break by using it to pat yourself on the back repeatedly.
  3. Don’t look at your manuscript again. No good will come of it as you’ll just want to change it.
  4. Well, maybe one or two sneaky peeks. Just to confirm it’s like, OK. Not bad. Alright.
  5. Scrub that. It’s good. Better than good. It’s brilliant. Bloody brilliant. Award worthy even. Destined to redefine the genre. No one will be able to refuse it, let alone resist it.
  6. Start learning Swedish, all the better to give your Nobel acceptance speech that added piquancy of authenticity.
  7. Develop a methodology, loosely defined as tantric bloody mindedness, to prevent you from refreshing your email inbox every ten minutes to see if you have a reply from a publisher.
  8. Do the washing up, after your partner reminds you that it’s highly unlikely that any publisher will respond to a submission on Saturday night, especially when Strictly’s on.
  9. Visit various bookshops local to you to start making space for your opus. This behaviour may be frowned upon by less understanding members of staff, but reassure them that it is standard New Book Marketing PracticeTM.
  10. Buy an expensive new notebook, because it’s obviously impossible to start writing book 2 without one.

Ask me if there’s a number 12 at the 26 Wordstock Deconstructed event Getting Published, on 28 November – more details here.

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