Work in Progress #26: Waiting To Find A Publisher For My Emily Post Biography

emily post middle agedAny seasoned writer will tell you that after you submit a piece to an editor or an agent, you should immediately start in on your next writing project. I’m following that advice to a point. I’ve started doing some reading on various topics I might be interested in pursuing. To be honest, though, ninety percent of me is waiting.

Waiting and talking to myself. Because the waiting will end in one of two ways and I have to be prepared for both:

EITHER my agent will get back to me in a month or two or six and tell me she has a contract she’d like me to take a look at. In that case, I will immediately spring into action, gathering photos I’ve stumbled on during my research, sorting them out by chapter, figuring out where the “holes” are in each chapter, contacting the people who own the rights to the photos, and hoping they’ll be kind to the budget I’ve been given. I will also read through the manuscript, highlighting every quote I’ve used, making a note on who owns the rights to each of them, and sorting them by rights-owners so that I can contact each for permission…again, hoping they’ll be kind. I know from past experience that I will have a small window of time before the editor (whoever it might be) gets back to me with all the changes she’d like to make on the book itself and I need to cover as much ground as I can on the rights/photos end of things before the editing process completely drowns me.

OR my agent will contact me with the dreaded message that she’s very sorry but she’s tried every publisher she knows who might be interested in a biography of Emily Post and no one is. This outcome will probably mean that the book I’ve spent the last four or five years on will end up in my file drawer. Before facing that outcome in real time, I need to be very rational about how I will handle it should it (gulp) actually come to pass. If Emily is rejected, I will remind myself about how much I have learned during the writing of this second long biography I’ve tackled. I will remind myself that nothing is ever lost, that the effort I took will be grist for the mill for some future work. I will remind myself that the illustrious Edith Wharton had a manuscript rejected AFTER her blockbuster The House of Mirth and that the book that followed that rejection was The Age of Innocence, which won her a Pulitzer. I will remind myself that if Edith Wharton could pick up her pen again after the humiliation of a rejection, so can I.

So.  I have talked myself through the possible outcomes and I can pursue my next project a little more wholeheartedly…while ninety percent of me still waits.

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Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

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Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
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