Wednesday, February 17, 2016

4 On Patience in Publishing by Amber Hendricks

We showcase a lot of published authors in our Writers on Writing segments. But when you're sitting on the other side of the fence -- as most of us are -- gazing longingly at that vision of our own (hopeful) future... well, it can be easy to forget that there are so many others in the same boat. Which is why we're thrilled to introduce some WOW posts from writers in the various stages that come before publication.

Today's post comes to you from one such writer, and on a very pertinent topic. Amber Hendricks is an agented writer on submission, and is writing today on the importance of patience in publishing.

On Patience in Publishing by Amber Hendricks

When I first started on my journey to become a published author, I thought that the hardest thing I would have to do was get an agent. Don’t get me wrong, that wasn’t easy. I spent a year querying my dream agents only to receive rejection after rejection (and that’s when I received any response at all). It was devastating and emotionally exhausting, and I was ready to quit. But then it happened! I received the email that was going to change everything and open the doors, setting me on the fast track to becoming a published author!

Perhaps I was na├»ve, or just a hopeless dreamer, but the fast track wasn’t nearly as fast as I thought it was going to be.

I signed with the agent, and in a flurry of excitement we sent out my first submission. My agent worked tirelessly for me (and still does!), sending submissions to the top houses and soon I was enjoying fantastic rejections. I know that’s funny to say. How can a rejection be fantastic? The fact that the editors were rejecting me didn’t matter. They always had lovely things to say about my writing and it made me feel accomplished. Editors liked my work! I had made it! I was a real writer.
But soon, those initial quick responses tapered off, and weeks went by where I wouldn’t hear anything at all. Even worse, those fantastic rejections stopped feeling so fantastic and started feeling like exactly what they were. Fast forward a few more submissions and a year later, and I’m exactly where I started, an unpublished author, albeit an agented one.

The one thing that my agent has repeatedly counseled me on throughout the last year is patience. Publishing is not a fast paced industry, and though I’ve known writers who’ve obtained that coveted book contract within days of submitting, that is not my story.

They say patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, it is not one of mine and it’s something that I struggle with daily. But in publishing, patience is more than just a virtue; it’s a way of life. It can take years to establish oneself as an author, from writing a manuscript, to querying, and finally submitting as an agented writer. Once you’re offered a book contract, it can take even longer to finally see the payoff of all your time and effort. Developing patience is just as essential to a writer as developing a thick skin or self confidence.

It can be frustrating. Sometimes you may wonder if it’s even worth it all, and how much longer you can keep going before giving up on your dream. You may itch to give that agent or editor a little nudge and say, “Hey, remember me?” But patience doesn’t have to be all waiting. Take that time and invest in your craft. Write new stories. Take writing classes or attend workshops. So when your moment finally does come and all that patience pays off, you’ll be a much stronger writer.

About the Author

Born and raised in the Midwest, Amber Hendricks grew up reading everything she could get her hands on- including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing as well, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books”. Although she dreamed of becoming a writer, when it came time for college, Amber opted for a more practical major. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Merchandising, with an emphasis on Visual Merchandising, from Northwest Missouri State University. Amber has worn many hats in her career : Army wife, Mother, Visual Merchandiser, Certified Pharmacy Technician, and most recently, Childcare Professional. But she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. Amber currently resides in Missouri with her husband and two children.


  1. Slow and steady wins the race - right?

  2. Thanks Amber, for your sage advice and warning. I keep thinking that getting an agent will be my ticket to publication--obviously not. I look forward to hearing of your good news one day. Meanwhile--back to work!

    1. Carol, signing with an agent has certainly gotten me closer to my goal! But there are many other factors involved that I had no idea about before going on submission. It has been an education! Best of luck to you!


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