What To Do After Signing a Publication Agreement

Every morning when I wake up, and every evening before I go to bed, I check my emails for any updates, and try to imagine the work that other people are doing to The Lesser Evil… cover designs, copy edits, marketing, reviews, whatever… Ever since I signed my publishing agreement for The Lesser Evil with Zeta Comics, I’ve been bouncing off the walls a bit. Excited, sure; happy, sure; impatient, well, yes that too. But mostly, there’s this anxiety I can’t really describe, a sort of nervous energy that comes from the knowledge that it’s pretty much all in someone else’s hands now.

There is a veritable cornucopia of books and websites out there that offer advice on how to write and/or draw, how to land a publishing contract, and how to read a publishing contract (for this latter, I strongly recommend the excellent Stroppy Author’s Guide to Reading a Publishing Contract)… but nothing (that I could find) about what you should do when you’re waiting for your book to get published.

Time to correct this oversight. Now.

1. Keep Writing

What limited advice is out there with regards to this period of limbo is unanimous: continuing to write is imperative. I’m not sure why this is, but I assume the advice is unanimous for a reason, so I’m just going to do the smart thing and accept it!

Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. In my case, whenever I complete a project, I take a few days/couple of weeks off to relax, to decompress, and to collect my thoughts. If I try to get back on the horse too soon, I find it frustrating and unproductive.

It’s been a month since the contract for The Lesser Evil was signed. Only yesterday did I really begin to work on my writing again. It will keep me sane for a while, so this is good… but what did I do in the meantime?

2. Harrass the publisher

This is the most tempting, but strikes me as ultimately The Worst Idea In The History Of This Or Any Other Universe. As much as I want(ed) to maintain daily (or twice daily) contact with my editor, I needed to come to terms with the notion that this is a long and involved process (though anyone who is not me would recognise that at least in this case, it’s all happening rather quickly) for which daily progress reports would be inappropriate or frustratingly sparse. It is also a process to which I am not supposed to be especially privy, unless my input is required.

(For the record, I will state that Zeta Comics are doing an excellent job keeping me in the loop, and I can only imagine my anxiety levels had I signed with a less accessible company!)

So not only is the notion of constantly contacting your publisher extremely counterproductive, it would also be insanely unprofessional and unbelievably annoying for the publisher. Follow this path, and wave sayonara to your dreams of a sequel!

3. Play video games

Or any other hobby that is a relaxing timesink. For me, it’s video games. My pile of shame has been growing and growing in recent months, and the month of July seemed the perfect time to whittle it down a bit (especially as plenty of others were doing it at the same time).

It was a great way to eat some of my spare time, and divert my attention from my nervous energy. Uncharted 2, Darksiders and LA Noire filled my July with much entertaining and bloody distraction.

Not a long-term solution by any means, but definitely worth investing a little-more-than-normal time in this way.

4. Reconnect With Family

Sometimes, when I’m hanging out with Katie and Annie, all I can think about is my writing (this is not a common occurrence, but it happens often enough to be irritating to everybody).

But if the urge to write has temporarily vacated the premises, then it should be easier to focus on the people you love, and who love you, and revel in their presence like you probably should have been doing all along.

5. Write a blog about the whole thing

Ummm… yeah. Still anxious.