One thing I’ve learned as a picture book author is that the publishing process is SLOW! This SLOWNESS includes not only the writing stage – school kids are always amazed by how much revision each of my books required – but also the submitting and publishing stages. When “on sub”, there’s the nail biting while you wait for editors to respond to stories you have submitted for consideration. That can take months! Or years (as I have discovered)! And then, once a piece is accepted, it typically takes another two years for a picture book to finally release – mainly because illustrating the book alone takes almost a year.
So, what is an eager writer to do while she (or he) waits? Here’s a list to inspire you… please add to it in the comments – and inspire me!
- Brainstorm new story ideas. Tara Lazar’s annual January STORYSTORM challenge is a great way to jumpstart this.
- Keep writing. This includes journaling, working on stories-in-progress and, of course, new pieces. Any combination is fine. Just keep moving forward, writing-wise.
- Read, read, read. For me, this means regularly checking out new and classic picture books from the library and analyzing what makes them work – or not.)
- Work on building your social media platform. This can include maintaining your blog and engaging regularly on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.
- Start planning for your book launch. Planning for a book launch takes lots of coordinating – with bloggers and podcasters if you are planning a book tour, with bookstores, libraries and schools if you are planning events, of course, with your publisher (who will also have great ideas)! I start planning at least six months in advance.
- Get something new ready to sub. While waiting for responses on a manuscript, there’s no reason not to submit something else elsewhere.
- Research new markets possibilities.
- Take a day here and there to just do nothing. (That’s an important part of the process too!)
- Experiment with a new genre. If you write picture books, try poetry or early chapter books. You may discover a new writing love!
- Develop lesson plans/ extension activities for your upcoming releases. Parents and teachers are always looking for ways to extend the reading experience, so have fun building a nice stock of puzzle, coloring pages, discussion questions and lesson ideas for your stories. Each one will make a great blog post and/or you can gather them in a packet to have available on your website or on the publisher’s website.
YOUR TURN! Please inspire us with other ideas for keeping busy (and productive!) while waiting for writerly news. Happy Waiting, all!