Things authors do while waiting to hear if they’re next book has been accepted by the publisher:
1. Don’t twitch. I mean, why would you? You’re an experienced scribbler, with a silly number of books to your name. You’re a pro, you’re a hack (in the proud way), you’re a suave bastion of literary professionalism. You don’t lie awake at night in a cold sweat thinking ohgodohgodohgod this is the one that’s ruined me not at all! That’s just not what you do.
2. Watching a lot of films. You know those movies that you missed? Because while, sure, while you wanted to watch the Hobbit when it came out on general release, you were in a tech (or more literary-based fugue of heightened activity) and now that the need to write a book has passed you by, you can sit back, relax, settle in for three hours of little people hitting big things, what’s not to love? And it’s ok. You don’t feel a torment of anxiety whenever you check your email in between battle scenes and think, but why haven’t they emailed yet…?
(Also… HOW DOES GANDALF’S HAT STAY ON?!)
3. House sorting. I, for one, am going to unpack. I moved house nearly three months ago and haven’t unpacked. I may even try to find the main electrical inlet for my flat. Possibly paint something. It’s a dynamic time for soothing activities.
4. Admin. Technically, you are taking this opportunity to write up your accounts, do your tax return – but not, I hasten to add, not in a twitchy way. Not in a kind of ohgodohgodohgod if they don’t buy this book what will I do for income next year? kind of way, but in a professional, assured way. You may go so far as to check the status of your foreign sales, make sure your documentation is up to date, and again, this isn’t so you can email your agent and see if she’s heard anything, this is just you, being a responsible grown up, clocking in, like a boss. Hell yeah.
5. Other jobs. How – but how – do writers cope without other jobs? I will never understand…
6. Writing the next book. This is a Good Idea. Unless the Next Book is an immediate sequel, in which case you’re potentially asking for trouble, just in case… but otherwise, it’s the way to go, because by writing the Next Book, you’re not only keeping yourself busy and active, but you’re reassuring yourself that yeah, you’ve got moves, you’ve got skills, you’ve got… you know… words and that, and if the book that’s on submission is anything like the work of prime genius currently rolling off your pen, then frankly, what’s to twitch about? Not that you’re twitching. Not at all. Not ever.
All this said…
… I remember once having to wait 18 months for an editor (who shall go unnamed) to read one of my submissions. And even then the professional in question only read a partial submission, but that’s fine. Because if nothing else, 18 months waiting with baited breath does wonders for lung capacity…