Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Waiting


Waiting sucks. This must be what it’s like to be a dog. Always waiting for a treat, for walkies, a scratch behind the ears, to go potty.

Of course, we all spend a lot of our lives waiting, too...in line at the grocery store, at the DMV, for tax refunds to show up in the mail, at traffic lights. And for me, being the only male in a house of wives and daughters, sometimes I have to wait to go potty, too.

But none of those compare to waiting for your first book to come out. As a writer, I never thought I’d say this, but its actually worse than waiting to hear back to hear from an agent or publisher to see if they are interested at all.

I’ve already gone through the final edits and revisions of Killer Cows with my publisher, and am now waiting for the galleys (how it’ll look when finally released) as well as the cover art. After that, I’ll have to wait even longer...almost a year.

At work, colleagues and students keep asking me when the book’s coming out, and when I tell them, they get this look on their face like, "Hey, why are you taking so long?" as if it were up to me. Hey, if it were up to me, I’d have already quit my day job so I could write full time (which is what some of my friends think I’m about to do). While I’m flattered they think I’m going to suddenly be rich, I’m not Stephanie Meyer (at least, not yet). I’m not expecting people to line up outside of Barnes & Noble at midnight to be the first to snatch up a copy of a book called Killer Cows.

At this point, all I want is to hold a copy of it in my hands. Maybe autograph one to myself. But I can’t right now. I have to wait...just like my dog.

No, I didn’t think my publisher was going to magically say abracadabra and blink my book into existence, but during my initial contact with her after she offered a contract, when she said Killer Cows was scheduled for release in the latter part of 2010, part of me was shocked. This wasn’t at all like the short stories I’d published, when the time from acceptance to print was just a couple of months. Barring any other obstacles, the time from acceptance to print for my book will be roughly a year and a half.

A lot can happen in that amount of time. The world could end. The local mega bookstore, where I always dreamt of seeing my books on the shelves, could go out of business. I could drop dead of a heart attack.

So I wait, just like my dog. It helps that I still have another completed novel to try and sell. I’d like to think that, with a bonafide publication to crow about to agents or publishers, that job might be easier. But even if not, it’s a nice diversion, and helps me forget how long I still have to wait before Killer Cows is released.

But maybe this is a good kind of wait, like when I was a kid on Christmas Eve, unable to sleep because I knew Santa was coming. Just like Christmas, it is pretty cool that what I’m waiting for is inevitably going to happen.

At any rate, as I write this, my dog is staring up at me right now, eyes huge, ball in mouth. He knows playtime is inevitable. I can relate, so even though my own personal wait is still long, I think I’ll end his.


  1. If your dog could talk, he'd probably say, "waiting's a bitch!" :>)


  2. I'm waiting, too. And, the bookstore I had arranged my launch at is closing after Christmas. What are the odds of that? So, off to book another bookstore.

    In the meantime, lots of other things to do.

  3. I felt the same way and I understand your frustration. I got to hold mine on Thursday night for the first time. Just look at it this way, when you do get to hold it, it's as close as I can imagine to holding a baby for the first time. I was nervously excited, and wanted to throw it up in the air and yell in joy, but you can't...So think of it as delayed gratification. A great way to pass the time is to start marketing now. That should give you plenty do to.

  4. I hope you are able to use the time productively, writing a new book perhaps, doing some promotion. And, I like your title, Killer Cows. Very cool!

  5. It's going to happen. Delayed gratification, yea...I like that...although the "delayed" is thirty years or so in coming......just like clockwork with everything else in your life that works, this will too.

    Trust me. I believed 30 years ago and I believe now.

    Truthfully, when have I let you down about this stuff? Your dream, is mine too, shared with you, over the many years in which I believed you would see your wishes and dreams come true :)

  6. A great way to pass the time is to start marketing now. That should give you plenty do to.

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