Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Best of Seekerville from the Archives and First Five Pages Critique

Hurry Up and Wait by Tina Radcliffe

Joined the Army to get in shape.
But all I do is hurry and wait.
(Sound off.)
One, two.
(Sound off.)
Three, four.
(Sound off.)
One, two, three, four.

One, two.
Three, four!

When I was in the Army, hurry up and wait defined my life.

Years later as I pursue my publishing dreams, little has changed. That phrase still defines my life.

In a world of instant everything, the wheels of publishing continue to move at what seems to be the same rate it has moved for at least the last thirty years.

Hurry Up and Wait Publishing Version

Here is a simple formula that can be utilized to estimate wait time for submitted manuscripts,.

1. Assign the manuscript the value of 1 or 2 or 3, according to whether it a query, partial or complete.

2. Multiply that number by the submission policy of the submitter, based on the following values:

4=Will respond in 4 to 6 weeks

5= Will respond in 6 to 8 weeks

10= No response time provided.

3. To that number add the following points for these special features:

4 =Snail mail query.

5= No 'received your email' auto generated response.

6= Disallows multiple submissions

4. Subtract 1 point for the following caveats:

Requested material.

Allows multiple submissions.

Contest win and requested material.

5. Take the product of the above and then subtract the number of letters in your first name from that total.


The final number equals the number of weeks before you can expect a response.

A recent Seekerville survey which can be found in the Independent Journal of Unpublished Writers estimates that the average wait time is between four weeks and six weeks for a query. The estimated response time for a partial is four weeks to four months. Finally, the estimated wait time on a full manuscript is four months to one year.

Today I am releasing the results of an in-depth online Seeker study of average response times. Results are in percentages.

Click on pie chart to enlarge.

Have I made it very clear that you have quite a bit of hurry up and wait time as an unpublished writer?

In Seekerville one of our mottos is, Friends Don't Let Friends Whine Amok, so I'd like to offer a revolutionary solution.


By the time the heavens open up, the angel chorus sings hallelujah and that agent or editor croons in dulcet tones, ''We want you!" it is suggested that in a perfect world you have the following:

1. A drawer full of manuscripts
2. The ability to estimate how fast you write.
3. A strategic plan for writing to meet your next contract.

If you sit around waiting for the mail man and eight months have passed, you have not only gotten older but missed an opportunity to write the next manuscript. Will you be prepared when an editor asks, 'What else do you have?"

In author Linda George's workshop, Use It or Lose It, she shares a few wise words on writing.

In order to write really well you must get a million words on paper.

You don’t learn by reusing old stuff—you learn by writing new books.

Tools To Assist You While You Wait:

1. Writing Meter:

A writing meter can help you chart your progress on your next project while you wait for a response from that editor or agent.

Ross Ink recently shared The Top 6 Writing Progress Meters.

2. Tracking Calendar:

You can download Julie Hood, The Organized Writer's, free e-calendar which features
  • Motivational quotes for writers
  • Holidays

  • Monthly To Dos

  • Monthly Focus Activities

  • Reminder checklists

  • Monthly goal tracker for the number of words you write and the queries sent

  • Links to writing and organizing books

  • Seasonal query recommendations.
3. Free Writing Tracking Software and Graphs

  • Plotcraft a downloadable database for tracking all the ideas you might have.

  • Peder Hill's Book Tracking Graph. Download is free. Go to the bottom of the page for the download. This uses an Excel format.

  • Novel Progress 2.0 is a free app that will allow you to create a graph of your progress in writing a NaNoWriMo style novel. You enter your word count and it updates a graph showing you how much progress you have made. NovProg2 will also show you how far you are through your daily goal, and your total goal. Placing you mouse over a bar in the graph will show a tool tip with that day's word count.

So what do you think?

By the time you hear back from a query you could have your next partial written.

By the time you hear back on a partial you could have your next novel written.

And by the time you hear back on a full manuscript you could have the next two books in the series finished.

Writer, writer don't be blue
I was once unpublished too.
Sold a book and what do you know?
Now I have to write ten more.

(Sound off.)
One, two.
(Sound off.)
Three, four.
(Sound off.)
One, two, three, four

One, two. Three, four!

Tina Radcliffe has been scribbling for years. She's sold dozens of short stories to magazines such as the Trues and Woman's World. In 2010 she achieved her goal of selling her novel length fiction to Love Inspired.

Tina's manuscripts have finaled in the Golden Heart twice. She has won the Maggies twice, the Heart of the Rockies three times and has also won Fire and Ice, Desert Dreams, Touched By Love, The Lauries, Put Your Heart in a Book, Ticket to Write, Winter Rose, Beacon, Tara, Golden Acorn, and the Linda Howard Award of Excellence.

She believes you should never, ever, give up on your dreams. When she's not working the day job, or writing, which is the dream job, she strategizes on how to become Tina- Princess Warrior.

This post first appeared in Seekerville 5/19/2009

Don't forget...

Today is the last day to be considered for our weekly critique.



  1. Coffee's on!!

    Wow! This is just as good second time around. Maybe twice as good.


  2. Tina, aka Princess Warrior, I'm so glad you didn't give up cuz I enjoyed reading your book and look forward to more.

    Since I'm one of the first ones here and since it's getting late even out here in California, I'm going to leave a big bowl of M&Ms for those night owls who drop by and have a case of the munchies. No beverages. I know Helen will be along to take care of that shortly.

  3. Why, look at that. Helen's already got the coffee brewing. =)

  4. M & M's, coffee and good friends. Does it get any better?

    Well, I did try a Chai Latte on the Keurig. Deeelish!!

  5. Mmmm M&Ms - are they peanut?

    Great tips Tina, thanks :)

  6. This is still good the second time round and I have a copy of your book which I really want to read.

  7. Hey everyone!

    Can we be in our jammies and chat awhile?
    Sounds like a great start with good friends, M&M's and coffee! :)

    Tina - super post.
    I LOVED the "whine amok" quote - first time I've heard it and it's a wonderful one.


    May and I visited a wonderful company we will be partnering with. Let's just say May was in Heaven. She had all the attention, people who loved on her and she got to savor her fave flavor gourmet dog treat, out of a choice of 9 I think it was. Chicken was the winner! :)

    AusJenny - How is your neck of the woods? Haven't heard much more after the devastating floods... Hope things have settled...

    Tina - we sure thank you for your service to our country!!!

  8. hahaha This is hilarious. Some of these comments are from Thursday when I put up a post thinking Camy's hadn't arrived. Too funny.

  9. Ho, ho, ho. I wondered what happened to it!!


  10. I'd like to enter the weekly 5pp critique contest. This post has great ideas- starting first with WRITE while waiting. But first I'd like some of Helen's coffee.


  11. Great post! I'd forgotten about the resources you mentioned. The only thing I'd add is that when waiting on a full manuscript, I don't work on the books in the same series, I work on a completely different series. That way if the editor rejects the series but asks me if I have anything else, I have a manuscript in a completely different series to give to her right away.

  12. Excellent ideas for waiting writers, Tina-- without question Seekerville's Princess Warrior!

    Thanks for the coffee, Helen. I brought crunchy apple fritters, finger-licking good. Apologies to the Colonel. ;-)


  13. I have a questions. Do we go with our full name or our nick name, in that math formula? (would one be better than the other...) You know how literal I take these things!

    Thank you Tina rhymes with Xena! I am struggling to avoid the apple fritters.

    Janet -you had me at CRUNCHY. Oh my.

    okay, did ya'll change the commenting format while I wasn't looking? Apparently I don't take changes well either.

  14. Being in the publishing business is certainly a lesson in patience! Great tips to help the time pass, Tina.

    Camy, I also work on a new series while I'm waiting for word on my submission.

  15. Thanks, Tina! Another great post to keep me on track.

    @Camy, Great idea to start a new series while you wait in case the reject that series but ask for something else.


  16. GREAT post, Tina.
    I needed to read it again.
    You look great in that body armor, btw.


    I'm kind of thankful for that 'wait' time right now - but I"m sure, it's going to get pretty LOOONG when I'm ready for publication.

    Would you toss my name in for the Critique, please.


  17. Tina, Princess Warrior -- you sure know how to nail a point to the door, girlfriend -- this is PAINFULLY TRUE!!! The longest I waited for a response from a query is three years, but in the editor's defense, it was an e-query that slipped through the cracks and she found it three years later ... AFTER I sold the ms., which she didn't know, of course. Uh, and she rejected me. I am happy to say that with a contract in my pocket for a 3-book deal, that is one rejection that didn't quite sting as much as the others ... :)


  18. Oh my stars, Helen, thanks for the coffee, and YES!!!! KARA!!! I brought the Peanut M&M's!

    And apple pie with caramel drizzle.

    Of course this is twice as true. Teeeenster wrote it. And I'll second Camy's stand about writing fresh and new stuff to show 'em...

    But I always had my series work as well, just in case they wanted more and THEY DID.

    So both rules of thumb work, as long as you write.



    Deb, Google formatting change.
    I don't remember seeing it on the MENU...

    Or asking for a 'new dish'....

    Obviously, I'm not a big fan of change, either, but we'll pretend to embrace it.

    And I have to say I'm so glad for Teeeena's contest updates because I needed to go back and check some dates from LAST YEAR and her contest updates jogged my memory.

    I OWE YOU, BABY! I'll 'pay' you back in May.


  19. Thanks Tina! Great post! Some of those book tracking graphs are new to me...I'll have to check them out:) Meanwhile I'll take your advice and WRITE!

    I've reworked my first 5 would love to have my name tossed in the hat for the critique:)

    thanks, Lorna

  20. Oh, Tina, I love that picture of you at the end! Wow, girl, you look tough and buff! ;-)

    I have discovered the secret of what to do when you are fretting and waiting on a past submission that you still haven't heard from--stop thinking about it. Stop. Then start plotting your next book, or the book you just started, in your head. Every time you find yourself fretting about anything, just conjure up your characters and continue plotting and thinking about their personalities and the story.

    And I am stunned at how many contests you won! Wow!!! You are good.

  21. The Seekers have been chatting about how Blogger changed the commenting format. But it's the same on my I don't know what you folks are seeing.

  22. Debra use the name you would put on your query letter. Snookie?

  23. Oh, I love this tracking calendar. What a great idea, I didn't even know this was available.

    Please put my name in the hat for the critique. Thanks!


  24. Mel, I agree to the nth degree. That keeping busy helps us push forward.

    It's too easy for writers to 'dwell'...

    You nailed it, dear author!

    And TEEEENA: Just so you know, you look just as wonderful in the new format. The Warrior Princess????

    I'm so there.

  25. Melanie, not good. Persistent. Annoyingly persistent. The Army teaches you to keep trying no matter how many times you try to climb that wall and don't make it. Failure is not an option.

  26. I wondered what that post was the other day Tina... Showed up in my Google reader [and this one shows up as several days ago - before Camy's.

    Ah well.

    Good stuff.

    On that note, I FINISHED!!!! the rough draft of my second MS this week. It's the sequel to the one I've got out right now.

    I have another one - an RS - at about 56K right now. Linnette has given me a deadline of May 15 for the final draft of it. Guess I best get the rough draft done sooner rather than later... I'm also contemplating it for Genesis so that 5 page critique would be fabulous =D.

    I guess that I heard SOMETHING [not an outright rejection but not a contract offer and nothing official at this point - just a friendly unofficial convo] for my full in less than a month is good?

    /ducks behind a half-dead ficus hoping to hide/

    I've got some peanut butter M&Ms to snack on and baked ziti for dinner.

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  27. Yes. There will always be annoying people who screw with the stats.

    So if you sell your first book written after one month out there we will still love you and embrace you but we WILL talk behind your back and discuss whether that is really you in the picture on the back of your hard cover book for your first release that hit the Times or whether or not you had an author double sit in for your photo shoot.

    Because that's just what friends do.

  28. Good to know, Tina =D.

    Pay no attention to the bugs. They're real bugs and not recording conversations for later so I know what to name the characters who get killed off Mary Connealy style.

  29. Sooooo..fess up. Who's had the longest wait time? Julie may have us beat with three years on a query. I have 18 months for an agent query.

    Close to three years with a manuscript. Sent partial, sent full. Editor lost it. Sent again. Rejection.

  30. Love this post, Tina! Thanks for the info and for making me laugh at myself. The links will be very helpful too.

    Would love to be included in the critique raffle.

  31. Great post, Tina. A drill sargeant's approach to motivation.

    I'm writing as fast as I can to avoid another 50 push-ups. (Tina is really STRICT!)

  32. And for me, Blogger now has the comment box at the bottom of the comments. With a drop down box to chose my identity. I choose Google, which must mean Google owns blogger. Scary big company.

    Then I click post comment
    Then I click post comment
    Then I click post comment
    Then a new window opens letting me type in my username and password.
    Then I come back to the comment box and click post comment.

    A simple five step process for posting comments.

    Once I've done ONE however, it goes more simply. Until I go away for too long and come back, then away with go with the five steps again.

  33. Can I just say "Wow"? That is one incredible resume.

  34. Always up for a critique.


  35. Mary - if you're logged into your gmail you shouldn't have to do all that again. At least that's how it is for me - I'm logged in there in another tab. If I'm not I have to go through all that...

  36. Wow, Tina! You've won tons of contests! That's so awesome. Great advice here. When I won the phone call with Camy a major thing that stuck with me is to figure out how fast I write. I've never known, really, besides what I can do daily. But how long will it take me to write a whole book? That's the question.
    Great, inspirational post. Thanks. ;-)

  37. I'm so glad to have these links again without searching! Thanks, Tina!

  38. Wonderful post, Princess Warrior Tina! Thank you for sharing all this info. and your great suggestions. I'm excited to have those links---am not familiar with any of them, but they sound like very helpful tools (for me personally, especially the tracking calendar and the graphs!). ~ Your contest list is quite impressive--WOW!! ~ Blessings, Patti Jo :)

  39. Thanks. I've spent the day polishing my armor.