Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Waiting Game

by Jeffrey S Savage

I have two projects which are very different from what I’ve done in the past currently being looked at by editors. These are in addition to my next Shandra book, currently scheduled to come out the first of next year. Now normally I’m not much of a worrier. I usually feel pretty confident about what I’ve turned in. But these two are WAY off the beaten path for me, and much as I like them, I’m sweating bullets here.

Writing is hard enough, dealing with the roadblocks, the characters who refuse to do what you want, the great feedback that causes you to write an extra 5,000 words worth of scenes, the self doubt. But at least this is self-imposed torture.

The waiting after you’ve turned in what you hope is your best work, is something else entirely. You go back and look at your “perfect” manuscript half an hour after you’ve sent it and suddenly find a million mistakes. You wake up in the middle of the night going, “Wait! Did I remember to change that one scene?” You realize your protagonist changes eye colors three times throughout the book.

You know you should just get on with your next project, but how can you when your baby is somewhere out in the big world of publishing all alone? Part of you is convinced this is your best work yet, and there’s no way the publisher won’t love it. In this case, I am very happy with both stories. They both came out better than I could have hoped. And I’ve got some great ideas for how to market them, which even the publishers thought were very persuasive.

But another part of you is already trying to prepare yourself for the letdown of rejection.
The thing is; you know the writing is at least as good as your last book—and that got published right? But there are so many other things that can go wrong. What is it doesn’t fit what the publisher is trying to accomplish? What if it is too much like ABC, or XYZ? What if this is too big of a departure from your last work? The stress is a killer.

So what do I do while I wait to hear back on the health and well being of these two manuscripts? Well for one, I am going to list the top ten things I’ll do while I’m waiting. Then maybe you can give me your top ten list.

10 – Doorbell ditch James Dashner who just had eye surgery and can’t see a thing. I can just imagine him standing at the door going, “Hello, hello is anyone there? Is it the Fed-Ex man with my new box of Jimmy Fincher books?” (By the way Tristi, I passed on your offer of bringing him cut-up onions.)

[Hang on that’s my cell phone. Any chance it’s the publisher? Nope just my mom. She can leave a message.]

9 – Google the publishers I’ve submitted to, the publishers’ latest works, my latest books, variations on the title I’d like my book to have. Various urls that happen to pop into my head. (Did you know that eatmore [fill-in-the-blank] is taken for almost every food, but none of them are real websites? Who goes around registering web sites like, and then waits to sell them?

8 – Read Amazon reviews of books that are similar to mine and see if my book had the same problems people complain about. A cool new feature of Amazon is that you can click on reviews by rating. I found it interesting that Jon’s “Everybody Poops” book had a one star review in which the reviewer claimed that he/she did not poop, so the book was a lie. Also, many people seemed overly concerned by the apple on the cover, pointing out that apples don’t poop.

7 – Write a book about an apple that poops.

[I heard my e-mail ding. Is that them? Nope just some nonsense about my nephew’s mission call. I’m sure wherever he goes will be nice.]

6 – Read Josi Kilpack’s blog about RSS feeds. Read Julie Wright’s blog about CONduit. Read Annette Lyon’s blog about why she hates Faulkner, and think she has even more time on her hands than I do to get that worked up about Faulkner. Wonder why the high heel writing babes didn’t include me. Maybe because Shandra doesn’t wear heels. Or maybe it’s one of those secret societies where you have to know the handshake. Hmph.

5 – Go back downstairs and meet my kids again. I think one of them went to college while I was writing.

[Hang on. Let me check my e-mail again. Maybe something came through while I was writing this. Nope. Darn]

4 – Check to see if LDS publisher has anything new on her site, and curse Miss Snark for retiring her blog.

3 – Remind myself that I need to get Kerry to send me a frog so I can take him on my business trips with me. And also remind myself that she hasn’t responded to the e-mail I sent her about you-know-what. And what you-know-who better do about it.

[Maybe they called my house. “Hi hon, anyone—No huh? Yeah, I know I checked ten minutes ago. I know you promised to let me know the minute I get a call. All right. Bye.]

2 – Go back and watch the DVDs of 24, Lost, and whatever else I’ve missed while I’ve been lost in writing three books. (I think there was something big for a while called lost in space—might have been a lost spin off)

[Hmm, maybe I should have included that SASE after all? . . . Nah!]

1- Get off my rear—or back on my rear—and get the next book going.

So what about you?


At 6/04/2007 6:35 PM, Blogger ChillyGator said...

While waiting for my boss to give me work I like to watch, check my facebook/google reader/livejournal every 10 seconds, read the BYU 100 hour board and find boys to flirt with (that last one is optional for you to try...unless you can find cute boys for ME to flirt with in which case it's a win-win situation).

At 6/04/2007 10:15 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

I'll keep an eye out for cute boys, Chilly. Can they be kind of nerdy, like Rob?

At 6/04/2007 11:04 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

You are destined for greatness, Jeff -- I've never doubted it for a minute. Those books are going to get snatched up quicker than a bowl of diced onions. Trust me.

At 6/05/2007 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can also visit
good luck Keith fisher

At 6/05/2007 2:50 AM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

Tell me more about this apple that poops.

At 6/06/2007 9:59 AM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

I think you should get cracking on another book. Or you could edit a few of the errant manuscripts I have lying around. Since I am in your SAME EXACT position, I'm reorganizing my closets and trying to compose the great things I'll say when they call me to tell me I'm brilliant--they will call to say I'm brilliant won't they? Dang it! What if they don't? What if they send a rejection letter that has red ink all over declaring me the infidel of all writers? Thanks a lot Jeff! Now you've got me all panicked!
Seriously, you know you're going to rock the foundation of the literary world, don't you?

At 6/07/2007 9:18 AM, Blogger Josi said...

You're top ten on writing is awfully similar to my top ten of avoiding writing my current WIP. Only the calls and e-mails are hoping someone is acclaiming something I've already written so that I'm inspired to work on the one I'm writing. I do however go back and read my already written ones, which can be good of bad. I end up thinking one of three things 1) It was the best thing I've ever written--which leaves my WIP where? 2) It's absolute garbage--which leaves my WIP where? 3) Did I even write this at all? And that leaves my WIP where?

But don't you just love being a writer?

At 6/09/2007 10:49 PM, Blogger Lu Ann Brobst Staheli said...

See---I TOLD you gals that Jeff (or maybe Shandra) would be upset if we didn't include him/her on our planet! Hey, at least he READS what we write.


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