Wednesday, August 25, 2010

19 WOW Wednesday: Kaitlin Ward On Patience and Querying

We're happy to introduce Kaitlin Ward to do this week's Wow Wednesday guest post from. Kaitlin lives in rural Connecticut with her fiancé, son, and dog. She is a YA writer represented by Elizabeth Jote of Objective Entertainment, and can be found at YA Highway, on her blog, and on Twitter.

On Patience and Querying

I’m not a patient person. And I think a lot of people can relate to me when I say that. I swear, human beings were just not meant to be patient. But in this business, the need to wait for things never ends. It starts with querying, but it doesn’t end when you get that magical call. After that, you’ll still have to wait while you’re on sub, wait for edits, wait for copyedits, wait for the day your book is finally in stores, wait for your next sale, and so on. I haven’t reached any of these steps yet, but ever since I landed my wonderful agent, I’ve become more and more aware of how much waiting is still ahead of me.

Querying didn’t go quickly for me. I queried on and off for more than a year, revising, shelving, rewriting, tearing out hair. I started querying the book that got me an agent in March, and it was June before I had an offer. I’d like to say I went through the querying process with perfect grace, but I didn’t. I saved the angsting for my friends (because the world doesn’t need to see that!) but it was not always easy to wait patiently.

Still, having to wait for something I wanted so much gave me some time for introspection. I was constantly aware of my patience level, even when it was alarmingly abysmal. I started to notice my patience level elsewhere, too. And I realized something: in general, I was becoming more patient. Way more patient. I’m never going to be the queen of patience, but I think maybe I realized that I would not actually die from waiting for something.

And I think it’s kind of awesome that the skill querying taught me the most about is the one it tested the hardest. Just goes to show, you never know what you might learn.

19 comments:

  1. Very true. Practicing patience breeds more patience. Too bad it's just so darn painful to wait. Thanks for the introspective post.

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  2. One of my friends had to wait a month and a half to hear back about a job; and everyone applauded her on waiting so long...Inside I said, 'you don't know the half of it!' :)

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  3. Hi Kaitlin!

    Very good post, and one that helped me level out a bit after getting a rejection last night. I'm usually a very laid back, patient person, but recently my patience has thinned due to stresses in my life beyond my writing that only make my writing all that much more important to me.

    I think the hardest thing about waiting (I'm still querying) is getting rejected after all the while being told how much an agent liked the ms. It's like getting told that you're a great person, but you still can't be my friend. Although this is business for the agents, and I want it to be a business for me as well, it seems impossible NOT to take it personally sometimes, especially when stress is high in other areas of life. I mean, how can you not take it personal - if even in a small way - when you're 'personally' very committed to succeeding?

    Some days you bounce, others you don't, but you still get on your feet in the end and get back to writing... and waiting... :)

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  4. Thanks for your encouragement. Patience and persistence are so needed if you want to get published.

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  5. Hello Kaitlin. Your post gives me hope! I am also not a patient person, but am definitely becoming more zen about things as time goes by.

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  6. Great post, Kaitlin!
    "Patience is a virtue."

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  7. I love this post. It gives me hope.

    Kaitlin, you forgot the patience required while waiting for your beta readers/crit partners to get back to you. I think that's the hardest of all waits.

    Seriously, I think having kids requires more patience than the publishing industry does. ;)

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  8. Thanks, Kaitlin--helpful to know that someone has made progress in the patience-in-querying department. Taking a cue from you, I'll try to be patient as I begin the process!

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  9. Patience is something I struggle with, too! But this business definitely forces you to learn how to wait, haha!

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  10. Patience! I wait and wait. Like Charlie Watts, drummer in the Rolling Stones said, his career had been "five years of work and twenty years of waiting". Waiting doesn't make me patient, it makes me strip wallpaper with my teeth.

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  11. Thanks Kaitlin for this wonderful perspective on the querying process and on patience. It's always good to be reminded that we're not always in control and have to wait.

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  12. Kaitlin, oh how I wish I would've learned patience from my query experience. Still not good at waiting for things. But one good thing I took away from querying was determination and tenacity. I would say nearly every day, "I am not giving up." That was a HUGE lesson for me.

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  13. Great post, Kaitlin! I think the waiting gets harder at each stage of the game. (Still at query stage). I've found waiting for a full response much harder than query, and from other writers' comments, it's not until you're out on sub that the true torture begins!

    I have a mug that says, "God give me patience, and please hurry!"

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  14. As I was reading this post the lyrics to a Tom Petty song popped into my head: "The waiting is the hardest part." I'll definitely refer to this post once I begin querying. Thanks for guest posting, Kaitlin.

    BTW, love the new blog design, M&M.

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  15. This was such a wonderful and timely post for me. I'm currently sending out queries for a manuscript, while writing an entirely new novel. So far, I've sent out about 30 queries. At first, I received only rejections or no response, so I tweaked my query letter numerous times. I've received some wonderful feedback - my novel's been referred to as a potential best-seller, high concept, with brilliant and fun ideas, BUT no offers of representation yet. Different people have not liked different parts of the novel. I'm willing to change any and all parts of the novel, and am hoping to find someone to guide me through the edits. In the meantime, I'm learning extreme patience and becoming rather zen about the entire process. :)

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  16. It took me awhile to figure out that the whole query process wasn't a race and that the fact that it took me longer than some of the other writers I knew who were querying at the same time did not mean I was bad or wouldn't be successful.

    Great post!

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