After I finished my first novel, I ran straight to the query stage with a hungry obsession. I wrote a dozen or so different queries and after settling on one, I started pimping my novel. The rejections came quickly as did my disappointment.
What the hell was happening? Everyone said they loved my book. I didn’t get it.
I tried sometime later with another equally bad query. More rejects. With the weight of rejection riding on my shoulders, I put my novel aside and did what I should’ve done in the first place: I started writing again. I poured everything into my next project and discovered how much I’d grown. I was better, and I couldn’t wait to try the query process again.
So I finished my second novel eager to test my luck, but rather than leaping as I did before, I let it sit, locked away in my computer for another day. While that one simmered, I returned to my first project and couldn’t believe how crappy it was—how amateurish. My face heated with embarrassment as I pictured the query shark and other agents muddling through what I thought a well-crafted, entertaining manuscript. Why didn’t I see how raw it was?
I had heard somewhere that it takes over a hundred thousand words to get to your better work (note how I said better not best). I knew this, yet I still thought mine was different. I was blinded by my own excitement.
I started thinking about this as I read submissions this week. We’ve received a lot of good work. Some of it, not so good. The disheartening thing is the not so good have already been published. The ease of publishing nowadays is exciting and terrifying. The exciting part I don’t think I have to explain, having options is great for all of us. What scares me is seeing writers take a quick leap into publishing with a lackluster cover and a book that was only critiqued by family and friends.
So what’s the rush? Why are writers pushing work that is not ready? Are we in such a hurry and blinded by possibilities that we can't see imperfections?
Thanks for looking,
Thanks for looking,
The Skeptical Hook'er