A Christian Writing Site asked the question, “What do you feel is the most difficult aspect of writing?” I answered patience. This is the one thing successful writer have, and writers who never quite make it lack. The publishing industry and the process of writing is so slow it truly could be described as slower than watching grass grow. This if especially true if you decide to go the traditional route.
Perfecting Your Writing: First you have to have patience to perfect your writing. Editing is an ongoing process for a successful writer, and most writers I know have critique groups to help them improve. Studying writing books and blogs and similar books to yours are also important steps writers in a hurry may miss. It may seem great to you, but publishable novels and unpublishable novels sometimes only have a fractional difference in quality. It’s hard to have the patience to get to the place where you have accomplished publishable quality.
Write More Books: Then there’s the patience required to write more than one book while your waiting. Some writers I know spend so much time trying to get their first book published, that they never write another. Or they give up and go the self-publish route or stop writing altogether. They lack the patience needed to start the next book and the next until something happens. A friend of mine wrote 7 novels while waiting for a contract. After she was published, they wanted everything she had written. The average published writer writes 3-7 manuscripts before being traditionally published. Also agents like to sign authors who have written more than one book. It shows the author is serious about his career and his craft.
Right Agent/Publisher: If you haven’t given up yet, you’ll earn your patience stripes trying to find the the right agent – a very slow process. There’s a lot of work involved in this. You have to learn how to write a good proposal and query and research agents taking your type of book. And timing is everything. Many times, it will take three to six months to receive a reply from an agent. And if that reply is no, you have to start all over again. You know you’re making progress when you receive letters from the agent telling you why she didn’t accept it instead of the standard form letter. Then when you do find the right agent, or if you decide to forget the agent and try small publishing companies that accept submissions, you have to wait until you or the agent finds the right publisher. First the publisher will want a full read. Then in most cases, it will go to committee. Again timing is everything.
Many give up before all of that happens. But those who wait, will reap the reward of becoming a commercially published author.