Yes, it’s technically true I’ve been working on getting my novel published for 14 years.
But in my defense, I didn’t work on my book consistently. For the first eight years, I was also raising small children, writing and publishing short stories and held other jobs.
Basically, I got around to writing a scene, or a character detail, now and then, at night, or on the weekends.
In 2010, I got serious. I carved out time and clocked in hours working at my computer.
Writing a novel takes a lot of patience, not only in developing craft and threshing out plot points and character details but in the submitting process as well.
Lately, I’ve been having a hard time with this part—the waiting. And waiting and waiting.
Last weekend at a party, a friend asked, How’s the book? And I cringed, feeling small and absolutely defeated because it’s been so long! “I’m waiting to hear back,” I said, walking on.
A few years ago, for my birthday, my husband had a video made for me, which included a Family Guy clip of Stewie making fun of how long it's taking Brian to write his novel. I thought it was hysterical because it was so painfully true.
Since then I've completed the book but there is still more to accomplish. I’m tired of explaining that before you can even submit to an agent you must have a completed manuscript.
Once the book is written, you begin submitting (the first 10-25 pages) and wait to hear back.
It is a special day when an agent responds, three months later, saying they’d like to see more pages. You send 100, and wait to hear back again.
After four months, the agent calls with a few suggestions.
You happily make changes, submit and then wait to hear back yet again.
It is another three months before you get an acceptance, and you think all your dreams will now come true because getting an agent is the hardest part of getting your story out to the world, only to find that you have to begin the submitting process, the waiting, all over again as your agent submits to editors.
This is where I am presently; and I must remind myself to be patient and that my book will get published with the right publisher, at the right time.
I have a work coach who has been helping me stay focused on these positive thoughts because with all the waiting, doubt creeps in.
What if my book never gets published?
My coach is teaching me not to think that way.
I have to stop saying, If my book gets published because according to her, Language Matters.
She tells me I need to say, When my book gets published.
And that’s hard for me—really hard—but maybe that’s an indication that it’s important, imperative, that I begin to speak with more certainty.
So I’ve been practicing.
In my experience, it seems women are more inclined to talk small about themselves, and their work. Maybe we think we're being humble. We think that certainty will come off as arrogance. I was glad to find out I wasn't alone in this thinking.
In a NY Times article, The Snobs and Me, Jennifer Weiner explores the ways in which she underplayed her success for years.
“Maybe what’s behind the inequity isn’t just a lack of opportunity, but an inability among women, or just me, to step up and say My work matters, and to really, truly believe it…”
In holding on to negative or disempowering beliefs I and others, like Jennifer Weiner, hurt ourselves because there are consequences for that kind of thinking.
“Once accepted our beliefs are unquestioned commands to our nervous system, and they have the power to expand or destroy the possibilities of our present and our future.” Tony Robbins
So it’s true that the writing and submitting process can be frustrating and probably doesn’t allow for some good books (by authors who are less persistent, or who don’t take rejection well) to reach an audience; but I do believe that my book will be published so I’m practicing toughening up yet again in this really long, exhausting journey toward my dream.
I hope this blog post answers some of your questions about why publishing a book takes time.
it’s simply a matter of time before my novel gets published!