Me and Tom Petty, Sittin’ in a Tree…Waiting

“The waiting is the hardest part/Every day you see one more card/You take it on faith/You take it to the heart/The waiting is the hardest part.”

About thirty years ago, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers had a hit with a song called “The Waiting.” At the time, I thought he was pretty cute. Now, I think he’s kinda scrawny and has really big teeth. Oh well, tastes change.

Unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember it. And I’ve been singing it a lot lately as I navigate my way through the choppy waters of publishing.

Nobody warned me about the waiting. So I’ll do it for you, if you haven’t started on the publishing gauntlet yet. The waiting just goes on and on and on.

I’m not a believer in waiting for the muse to strike. Books might get written that way, but certainly not by me. I have to beat the muse over the head, bind her, and forcer her grubby hands to the keyboard. Sometimes it even works.

No, the waiting comes later.

You wait for your alpha/beta/omega readers to get back to you with their pearls of wisdom. Maybe.

You send off queries and wait for an agent to show a smidgeon of interest in your manuscript. Then she requests a full and―eureka―you’re there! Or not.

You send off your manuscript and wait for the agent to read it and respond. She offers representation! She loves your book! You’re there! Or not.

You work on another project while your agent shops you around. And wait. And wait. And―eureka!—you’re offered a book deal! You accept it. And you’re there. Or not.

You keep working on another project while the contracts mosey by pack mule from New York, a trip that takes approximately ninety days. But they arrive! You sign on the dotted line. And you’re there.  Well, no.

There’s the revision letter. You take time off from work, you revise till your eyeballs bleed. You send in your changes in your allotted time. And you’re there! Surely. Well, no.

Then you wait some more. For edits. For proofs. For things I don’t even know about yet, because―you guessed it―I’m still waiting.

*Sigh* I’m singing the bridge with Tom, now: “Don’t let it kill you, baby. Don’t let it get to you. I’ll be your bleeding heart. I’ll be your crying fool. Don’t let this go too far. Don’t let it get to you.”

Off to wait. Anybody out there want to tap an impatient foot with me?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

3 thoughts on “Me and Tom Petty, Sittin’ in a Tree…Waiting

  1. Yeah, the waiting is killer. Patience is definitely NOT one of my virtues so the waiting nearly kills me. Of I feel like I’m dying anyway.

    Hope your waiting ends soon. Good luck.

  2. The waiting is the hardest part, and it’s so important to remember during this time that it’s the journey, not the destination, that’s really important! Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend (BBQ planned? 😉

  3. I once knocked my brother (who’s seven years older than me) off the porch with a broom because he wouldn’t do something in my time frame. “If you don’t learn patience, you’ll end up in jail,” my mother told me, which pretty much scared the hell out of me but didn’t result in any more patience. I was seven at the time. I’m not in jail yet, but I’m still not patient! And BBQ is on the menu!