So, I know you are busy and I don't want to bug you, but can I just whine to you for a minute? Pretty please?
I've got a bunch of queries out, a handful of rejections, and a couple of requests for fulls or partials. For the ones that haven't responded yet, it's been well over two weeks, which I've been taught to understand means it's probably going to be a no.
The rejections I have received didn't hurt--they were the nicest rejection letters I have ever received. But it's the ones I haven't heard from that drive me batty. Not to mention waiting on the fulls and partial--which I know will take a long time.
But although I know this, I am still an impatient head banging mess. I've got lots of work to do for my real-life job but I am completely uninterested. Instead I constantly check my special query-only email address. Constantly.
I am trying to do what others always say, start writing the second book. Except my second book is the second in this series. What if the first book never sells? Am I wasting my time?
I am literally paralyzed. Any advice?
Impatient Head-Banging Mess
Me? Advice? Do I ever.
First, I know this is easier said than done, but--don't let yourself get distraught. It's not worth stressing about. Our end (the editors/agents end) is very slow-moving. Slow like molasses slow. I know that doesn't exactly make your life better per se, but seriously, you haven't waited that long from our perspective. (It's reasonable to expect that even after a month your query might not even have been opened yet, depending on the agency.)
I do think you should distract yourself by writing. This is the best idea ever, since writing will force you toward other emotions (maybe equally stressful, but at least different!). But I do think that if possible you shouldn't work on the next book in your series. I have a number of reasons, but I'll list the biggies:
1) If an agent decides to work with you (or, later, an editor) on the condition that you do some certain edits, they might drive your first book in developmental directions that differ from or outgrow the second installment you've already spent time on.
2) In the event (God forbid) you don't end up placing the book you're submitting right now, you'll have two unwritten books in the same series instead of a different, unrelated book that you can pitch separately. However, if you write a different book, you might be able to place THAT one, and then come back later when you're famous and reputable and place the first one.
The thing is, and I can vouch for this, writers develop really quickly and constantly, so the next book you write will--guaranteed--be better than the one you've already written. This is a reason for you absolutely to keep writing and writing.
But yeah, I would take up an entirely different project to distract you. You might be one of those people with tons of other ideas to pursue (sounds like you are, if you've already planned out a series!), but in the event you don't, you might try nonfiction short pieces. They can act as prompts for you, but might also turn into articles you could use to build your platform!! (Eg how about pitching some short creative pieces online?)
Just some of my thoughts.
Good luck! All my fingers are crossed for you, obviously!