The Wait

If you’ve read any author blogs, you’re familiar with “call stories,” the tales of what happens when a writer receives that magical offer of publication from an editor. Today, instead of sharing about “the Call,” my guest Theresa Romain is blogging about “the Wait.” Publishing houses plan years in advance, so one year between the initial offer and seeing the book on the shelves is not unusual. Two isn’t even out of the realm of reality. (My upcomings titles stretch into the summer of 2012!)

But it’s hard to wait to see that first book on the shelves. Here’s how Theresa deals with it:


My debut Regency-set historical romance, SEASON OF TEMPTATION, will be published by Kensington Zebra in October 2011. This is very exciting, and I want to tootle a giant alphorn and tell the world! WOOOO.

Yet it’s excruciating too, because all I can offer the world right now (after I blast its ears with my alphorn) is a title, plus a countdown to the publication date that’s still in the triple digits. There’s a lot of waiting between contract and publication, and the excitement and excruciation can ebb and flow from day to day. Sometimes even from hour to hour.

Being a rather compulsive type, I have wrestled this ebb and flow into the following lists describing my life lately:

Things that change when you have a book accepted for publication (but not yet published)

1. You stop researching agents and publishers. You start researching web designers. Hmm…better keep saving for a while.

2. Your friends will stop asking you when you’re going to get a book published. Instead, they’ll start asking when they’re going to get their signed copies. They will wait too.

3. You drink more coffee. This just happens, whether you intend it to or not, and whether you are tired or not. (Note: you will be tired.) Cheer up! It’s better for your health than smoking a hookah!

4. You feel compelled to sound witty and brilliant every time you leave a comment anywhere online. None of this “me too!” nonsense. Every word has to be pure gold, hammered into Verdana 9.5 font.

5. You quit fiddling with your now-accepted manuscript and start fiddling with a new one.

Things that do not change

1. Family members still create massive amounts of dirty laundry. This must be washed by someone. Probably you, since sometimes you work at home. Lucky you!

2. You still need to write every day. Ok, most days. Maybe shoot for five days a week. Or at least a certain number of pages. Words. Something.

3. You continue to hear the word “no” a lot, though sometimes it will come cloaked in different words. “Looking for something different” is always popular.

4. Professionalism is your brother from another mother. Keep being just as professional as you were at the beginning of the publication journey. There is no entitlement.

5. There, there. Chocolate makes it better. Always.

Theresa’s Bio:

Theresa Romain has worked, interned, and translated for libraries and universities, all of which fed her love of books and her fascination with the past. Besides writing historical romance – and reading it, of course! – her interests include film history and public health. When not reading or writing, she can sometimes (but not nearly often enough) be found cooking or practicing yoga. Her debut historical romance, SEASON OF TEMPTATION, will be published in October 2011 by Kensington Zebra. Please visit her on the web at

Thanks for sharing with us today, Theresa!

We’re such an instant society. We want what we want right now! How about you? Have you ever had to wait for something important to happen in your life? What was it? How did you deal with the delay?

26 thoughts on “The Wait

  1. Mia Marlowe says:

    Hi Theresa! Thanks for being one of my generous, good-hearted beta testers. I really appreciate you.

    About the html code you see in the comments–When my designers imported my old blog from Blogger, none of the formatting made the trip. I had to go in and reformat AND readd all the pictures to the posts. I’ve started working through the comments, but as you can see, I haven’t made it back this far yet. Heavy sigh…

  2. It’s been a while since the post…this comment is going up as part of the beta-test of Mia’s new site. Congrats, Mia!

  3. Theresa Romain says:

    Hi everyone — I love all the comments from kindred spirits. Dare I break my own rule and say quot;me tooquot; over and over? :) I agree, the wait is well worth it. We wouldn#39;t write romance if we didn#39;t think anticipation had its own joys, right??br /br /Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mia, thanks again for letting me join your moving party!

  4. Christie Kelley says:

    Waiting is so tough, especially for that first book. I had to wait a year from contract to out on the shelves for my first book too (and 13 months for the second). br /br /But before long, the copy edits will come, and then the coverflats, and the proofs, and finally a few weeks before your release the best present of all…your author copies. There#39;s nothing better than holding that first book in your hands. It#39;s worth the wait, Theresa!!!

  5. Daz says:

    Theresa, I loved all your insights on the wait. Often, there#39;s so much focus on getting the call that we forget that there#39;s a lot of waiting going on as well. Before, after, etc. Congratulations on the sale.

  6. MiaMarlowe says:

    Nynke–We writers really can#39;t wait for the call the way one might wait for the results of a job interview. We#39;d be basket cases if we did because a manuscript can languish on an editor#39;s desk for years! br /br /For example, my previous agent failed to notify Harlequin that my second book ERINSONG had sold to Dorchester. They made an offer on it one month before it came out as a Leisure Book. It was bad that my agent didn#39;t let them know (one of the reasons I have a new agent now!) but they were very nice about it. Possibly because they#39;d had the manuscript for a long time.

  7. MiaMarlowe says:

    Jane–Your comment reminded me of when we waited for results of my mom#39;s lymph node biopsies after she had surgery for breast cancer. We hadn#39;t let ourselves cry till we heard that no cancer cells were found in her nodes and there was a good chance the cancer had been caught in time.

  8. Nynke says:

    Thanks, Theresa! I guess I can relate most to Jane#39;s types of waits, especially the ones about jobs… Waiting for the call must be similar but worse, since you#39;ve invested so much time and energy into /I try to make my every comment witty and/or brilliant, even the #39;me too!#39; ones. But I#39;m glad that just voicing sympathy is often quite good enough to make a worthwhile comment :).

  9. Jane says:

    Congrats on the book deal, Theresa. quot;The Waitquot; is torture, especially if you#39;re wondering if you got into a certain school, job or the results of your physical.

  10. MiaMarlowe says:

    Marianne–I#39;ve given up trying to do witty. I#39;m afraid I settle for real when I post a comment and sometimes that is an acknowledgment of quot;Hey! Me too.quot; Since I think one of the reasons we read is to know we aren#39;t alone, that works on a cosmic /br /Of course, I#39;d really rather make you blow your soda out your nose…

  11. MiaMarlowe says:

    Thanks for dropping by, Sandy! Let me know when your next title is out and I#39;ll be happy to spotlight you too.

  12. Marianne Strnad says:

    I especially loved #4. You feel compelled to sound witty and brilliant every time you leave a comment anywhere online. None of this “me too!” nonsense. Every word has to be pure gold, hammered into Verdana 9.5 font.quot; I totally relate to that-lol!

  13. Sandy says:

    Congrats on your sale, Theresa. br /br /Waiting for anything is tough. In Linda#39;s case it was a dire emergency. br /br /Thanks, Mia for having Theresa here today.

  14. MiaMarlowe says:

    Jane L–Congrats on finding a man who#39;s blind to your quot;gotta have it nowquot; tendancy. I confess, I#39;d rather do that too. br /br /Keep writing, my friend and the call will come. A published author is just one who hasn#39;t quit.

  15. MiaMarlowe says:

    Linda–Isn#39;t wonderful to find help when you need it? God bless the man who took care of your paperwork.

  16. Jane L says:

    Theresa, How wonderful to finally quot;get the callquot; I am sure all will be worth the wait in the end! I am also very bad at the waiting game. I know, I know, it is part of our problem in todays society. I am an instant gratification girl. I will pay more if I can take it home today, I will shop until I find it in stock. On the other hand my husband says I am the most patient person he has ever known, how ironic! Have a wonderful week everyone!

  17. Cat Schield says:

    Theresa, congrats on your sale. I totally get the pain of waiting to hold your book in your hands, but at least there#39;s a light at the end of the tunnel, unlike when you#39;re waiting to find out if you#39;ve sold. br /br /My suggestion, enjoy the peace and quiet to get your next book(s) done and your marketing plans in place because once your book hits the shelves it#39;s gonna be crazy!!

  18. Linda Henderson says:

    I think the most important thing I had to wait for was my disability to be approved. I was in pretty bad shape and even though I got approved in 4 months, it was a very stressful and tough time. I was only allowed to work two days a week and I was having to live on about $600 a month until it came through. The day I got the call on the approval, I was laying in a hospital bed. The very kind man who took care of all my paperwork at Social Security told me he#39;d call me when he got the word, and he kept his word. He called my place of employment and they told him I was in the hospital so he called me there to give me the news. I will never forget his kindness.

  19. Theresa Romain says:

    Hi everyone! Thanks for bearing this insight into my head! br /br /Mia–Thanks so much for letting me come back! It actually was close to two years away from pub when the deal for my book began. I consider it fantastic that I am now less than a year away from physical /br /Re: your personal bucket list…maybe you can cook your DH a healthy lobster dinner on a boat off the coast of Maine. Trifecta!br /br /Mary Anne–I LOVE your peaceful attitude. Sometimes I#39;m able to capture that for myself, but more often my nails are bitten all ragged. br /br /I#39;m so glad to hear you share my love of film history! I#39;ve been known to bore people to tears with silent move screenings. They just don#39;t understand. :)br /br /Edie–Yeah, waiting is tough! Once you#39;ve done everything you can, it#39;s hard to sit back and let the wheels turn (at least for me). But turn they /br /Joelle–I TOTALLY agree that there are good OCD tendencies. I#39;m a list-maker too. In part because (like Mia says), it gives me that sense of accomplishment, and in part because I have a sketchy memory and I want to write things down so I don#39;t forget something.

  20. MiaMarlowe says:

    Joelle–I#39;m a list maker too. It gives me a sense of both accomplishment and control when I tick things off. Why do you think I posted my 9 Month Personal/Professional Bucket Lists? Unfortunately, my personal list has been lagging of late. Need to work on that.

  21. Refhater says:

    I stink at waiting for anything. Especially around Christmas time and when babies are born. I deal with it by falling back on my good OCD habits. (There are good habbits and bad ones when you have OCD.) br /br /Making checklists and the crossing things off as they are accomplished. Making sure that every last t is crossed and i is dotted, and that everything is as perfect as I can get it. Then creating a back up plan for if things don#39;t go as planned the first time. That gives me something to do so I don#39;t have time to quot;worryquot; about the thing I#39;m waiting /br /-Joelle

  22. MiaMarlowe says:

    Edie–Publishing wheels do grind slowly. I understand the turn around is quicker with an ebook, but for print authors a year is pretty standard. br /br /Unless an editor has an unexpected hole in her line-up. Say a contracted author misses a deadline or something and rather than throw everyone off by reshuffling the schedule, the editor looks for a finished manuscript to slip into the line-up. br /br /A contract by any means is cause for celebration, but this is a double edged sword. The editor liked the story well enough to use it, but do they like the author#39;s work well enough to want to grow them in the house? Ah, there#39;s the rub…

  23. MiaMarlowe says:

    Mary Anne–Keeping busy is a good way to keep from fretting. I always advise aspiring authors to spend more time writing the next manuscript than trying to sell the old one. You never know which story is going to prick an editor#39;s interest and if they like one, they#39;ll want to see what else you have.

  24. Edie Ramer says:

    Waiting is the hardest part of being a writer. I know just how you feel about comments. I#39;m also a quot;me tooquot; kind of person.

  25. Mary Anne Landers says:

    Thanks for the post, Theresa and /br /How have I dealt with waiting for something important? By not dwelling on it. br /br /Once I#39;ve done all I can, what happens next is up to someone else. Worrying that it might turn out badly would be pointless. And anticipating the rewards is like counting your chickens before they /br /As far as responses from editors go—well, if I were to say how little that affects me, I#39;m afraid nobody would believe me. I know, a writer is supposed to be in Heaven when a work is accepted, in Hell when it#39;s rejected. I stay in the realm in between. br /br /So I can stand the wait; and anyhow, I#39;m too busy to think much about it. I do my best to live in the moment, to focus on whatever task is at hand. Then go on to next one and focus on it. br /br /Theresa: You#39;re interested in film history? So am I! It#39;s great to hear from a fellow classic-movie /br /Keep up the good work!

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