1. Work on your next book.
You’re not planning to rest on your laurels, are you?
2. Send out another round of queries.
Obviously, this doesn’t apply to Pitchwars, since that’s against the rules, but I recommend sending out multiple queries at once. I usually batch mine in groups of 3-5. It takes about 30 minutes to do this. Besides, you don’t want your queries to get lonely while they’re out in the wild.
3. Read a book.
It’s true that great writers are avid readers. You’ve finished a book, so take some time to kick back and read the latest release from your favorite author.
4. Play a video game.
This is Ash’s preferred coping mechanism. Nothing relieves stress like beating up imaginary people.
5. Go outside.
Yes, I know. The blinding light of the daystar is unfamiliar to most writers, but go for a walk. Hang out with friends. Reconnect with the family you’ve been ignoring while you tried to get that ms ready for submission.
6. Hang out in the #Pitchwars and #OnthePorch tags on Twitter, or look at other writing hastags.
There’s usually games going of some kind (“create an aesthetic for your book.” “What was your MC’s childhood fear?”), and lots of chatter happening. I recently found a new one, #darklitchat, which is a monthly Q&A that looks like a lot of fun.
7. Mentor a novice writer.
Have you been in the querying trenches for a while? Know how to get an Agent’s attention? Try mentoring a less experienced writer. This could be as simple as answering questions in a facebook writing group, or as involved as becoming a beta reader or critique partner for a fellow writer. I like doing random query and synopsis critiques on Twitter.
8. Prep for your next pitch contest.
There are dozens out there, just on Twitter. #Shoreindie, #Pitchwars, #Pitchmas, #DVPit, and #QueryKombat are just a few I can think of off the top of my head (all of them have associated websites, if you want to google for more information). You can also do a search for writing contests run by magazines, publishers, or other organizations if you’d rather not be tweeting.
Whatever you do:
- DON’T obsess over your inbox. Limit yourself to checking your email a couple of times a day–I usually check it when I wake up and then around dinner or bedtime.
- DON’T harass the people you submitted to. Allow at least 8 weeks for agents to get back to you about queries, and absolutely DO NOT harass contest judges. Interacting with them is great, but asking why you haven’t gotten requests for pages or demanding to know when/who/what they’ve chosen is NOT and will usually get you disqualified.
- DO have fun interacting and learning from fellow contestant, mentors, and judges.