Biding Your Time
One skill I’m learning is to keep your attention focused on something other than those requests still out, the query letters you’ve sent. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s downright hard to focus on anything but your email all day long, but you must. There’s no way around it. You can’t pin your hopes on one book. There has to be more waiting in the wings. So while you’re waiting, dig into research for the next wip, draw up your outline/character sketches/story notes, or simply—begin.
Right now, I’m editing one and writing another. It’s a bit of a challenge and one might eventually win out over the other but I’m keeping my thoughts on my stories and not on news from agents. It’s imperative that you write that next book and the one after that. Keep going. This is why: with every book you grow. If the current one doesn’t work out, there’s the chance its successor will.
It’s also important to have an answer to the question the agent may ask: what else do you have for me? If you haven’t started anything, you’re going to be scrambling to come up with something and if you’re in a hurry, you might rush the book and it could fail to win its audience. Make sure you’re always studying, always preparing yourself, always writing. It’ll make that response so much sweeter to say, “Well I have a YA fantasy in the works about a—”
And if it’s finished, so much the better.
You’ll show push, you’ll show ambition, you’ll show that the agent can count on you to deliver a product consistently. No one-book wonders. This is for hopefully a long, successful career. Most authors don’t start solidifying their audience till after the fifth book, they say. If that’s true, you have work to do to reach that goal. And after that one, others. Never stop working, never stop reaching, and you’ll get there to the top.