Just Wait…

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Graphic of a crossed sword and a pencil

My telling you to just wait is NOT me telling you to skip writing for a day. Perish THAT thought; I subscribe to literary agent Barbara Poelle’s* mantra to “Read 2k a day; write 2k a day” — except if you don’t actually hit 2k words written or read, I’m okay with that. The idea is that you do what you can, but do it daily.

So what are we supposed to be waiting for?

It’s something that’s burned many an author. (And yes, now I am playing with you, mostly so I can say “Just wait” again and make the SEO gods happy) But it’s also something that’ll only bite you once, I’ve found.

It’s setting your release date too early, and the subsequent presale date.

What’s too early? Before your book has gone through editing, I’d say. Before it’s gone through beta reads. You know… before it’s landed in the hands of the people who may have you do a time-consuming change or six (hundred). Or who’ll encourage you to rewrite from the ground up. Yes, I know clients that’s happened to, even if it wasn’t me issuing that particular instruction.

Invariably, the same thing happens, over and over. The author — that’s the you in this scenario — winds up rushing, pushing, ignoring things that otherwise wouldn’t be overlooked. The book suffers. Readers aren’t happy with you. They make other buying choices going forward.

I know! I do know that you want to get that presale up, that you find it motivating, that you need it to give you the kick in the pants, the confidence to keep moving. You can’t take it back, so you’re committed. I get it. I DO.

But I also get that the goal here shouldn’t be to merely get a book on the shelf. Nope. The goal here should be to get the BEST book you can produce on the shelf. The best. Not the fastest.

That means pushing yourself as a writer, not in terms of getting the book done, but in terms of craft. Can you write better? Improve this? That? The other?

And don’t forget about self-care. Yes, reading/writing 2k a day is a good goal, but let’s face it: some days, you need to take a day off. Unplug. Wander in the woods. Be present for your family. Throw a ball for the dog. Cut some catnip and laugh at how your cats behave. Doing any of those things — or whatever you need — isn’t hurting your writing goals in the least, I promise. It’s refueling you. Sometimes, you need that break. Take it.

Just wait.

Don’t schedule that release date yet. Don’t set up the presale yet.

Just wait.

Focus on making the best book possible.

As always, I’m here if you need help with that. And while I’m a little bit backed up as I type this, that situation changes by the day. However, don’t delay if you want to open a dialogue. My queue can fill up pretty darn fast.

*I always credit literary agent Barbara Poelle with that because she’s the first person I heard say it — at least that I remember — at a Pennwriters conference many years ago. And yes, mentioning Pennwriters here IS an endorsement, so come join us.

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