Things to do while WAITING for Publication

As Tom Petty always said, the waiting is the hardest part. Being the incredibly impatient person that I am, I couldnt agree more. I am thrilled to have a picture book and a novel under contract with two different publishers. But in our culture of instant gratification, Its the snail-like pace toward actual publication that Im finding harder to digest. My picture book, Henriettas Hoof Polish, has been sitting with the publisher for close to two years now and Im still not sure of an exact release date. A recent inquiry to the editor informed me that Im eighteen books down on the list. Im guessing its still going to be a while! My YA equestrian novel, Trail of Secrets, was accepted for publication by Fire and Ice YA in early January and is scheduled for release in August/September this year. That seems like a relatively quick turnaround, but its still five or six months away. Im sure before long Ill have a cover to reveal and plenty of edits to make, but what am I to do in the meantime? I came up with a few (productive) ways to pass the time while awaiting my books elusive release dates:

1.  First, in an effort to continue to build my author platform, Ive ventured from blog-land into website-land and launched my very own author website. Id love it if youd take a minute to check it out and let me know what you think! I used to build my site and found it user-friendly and much less expensive than some other options that Id previously researched.

2.  Over the last several months, Ive been writing my next novela thriller set in the sometimes-shady world of Chicago real estate. Im currently on my third revision with no end in sight. Its true what they say, nothing gets a writers mind off her last book like delving into the next one.

3.  Ive been learning about ways to promote my books, both as they approach their release dates and once they are released, by utilizing social media, cover reveals, giveaways, reviews, and blog tours, to name a few. To this end, Ive been working to build connections with fellow writers, bloggers, and readers via Twitter, Facebook, and (of course) this blog! Its never too early to start spreading the word, and to help promote fellow authors at the same time.

4.  I cleaned and organized my home office. That might not sound like a big deal, but it is amazing what a difference having an uncluttered workspace makes in productivity. I was going to expand this idea to cleaning my entire house, but that one hasnt happened yet.

5. Last but not least, ten days ago my family and I adopted a puppy from a no-kill shelter near our house. Okay, this step might not be productive in the traditional sense. In fact, for the first several days after bringing the puppy home I got very little sleep and absolutely nothing accomplished. But look at how cute he is . . . .  And my kids are so happy.We all felt an emptiness in our home after losing our beloved dog, Chewy, in early January. Our new puppy, Milo, is full of life. He has brought the laughter back to our house, and thats worth every bit of sleeplessness and lost writing time!

So, thats how Ive been keeping busy and staying (relatively) productive while awaiting the publication of my books. How about you?

The Organized Writer (Part I)

I recently saw a post on Facebook that stated, If you want to know what it feels like inside a womans mind, imagine a browser with 2,857 tabs open all the time.  I think writers especially, whether men or women, can relate to this.  Ideas for stories pop into my head at the most inopportune times:  while Im cooking dinner, talking to a neighbor, or giving my kids their baths.  I am constantly discovering new publishers and agents that would be perfect for my manuscripts, only to not be able to find them later.  How do we writers keep all this valuable information straight?  Enter the white board.  Whenever one of my brilliant ideas pops into my head, I run over to my white board and jot it down.  Then I can forget about it and focus on whatever I was doing.  No need to open my computer and type and save in the appropriate place.  I do all that later.

My white board is located in my home office on the wall opposite from my computer.  Mine is from Fat Head, but they are available at any office supply store.  I use it to keep track of story ideas, agents, publishers, websites, funny words, horse names, deadlines you name it!  I admit, an occasional grocery list makes its way to my white board from time to time.  But that is the joy of dry erase markers.

Are you a writer with 2,857 tabs open all the time?  How do you keep your ideas organized?