Well, folks. It was fun while it lasted.

As you can see, not much has been happening on this blog lately.

There are several reasons for this, but I will only hit on a couple:

First: It's amazing how much can change in a couple of months--both in our personal lives and on the writing front. A couple of us have signed publishing contracts, and so the need to write, edit, market, promote HAD to take preference over this blog and the services we were providing.

Second: Running this blog, critiquing submissions, providing feedback...well, that's a LOT of dang work. We weren't getting paid for this service. We had a concept and we went with it--for free--not realizing how much time it would involve with very little (nothing) in return for our effort.

Third: Probably the biggest factor that made us come to this decision, was the fact that a good portion of the submissions we received just weren't ready. They needed more revision. We were wanting to give out reviews on AMAZING, fully complete, well edited novels. 90% of what we received didn't come close.

So we've shut it down. We've moved on.

If you liked our comments and our posts, you can check us out on our individual blogs:

Angela Scott: www.whimsywritingandreading.weebly.com or @whimsywriting on twitter or http://www.facebook.com/AngelaScottWriter

D.S. Tracy:

Kacey Mark:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thankful Rejection

Posted by Ready, Aim, Hook Me at 1:26 AM

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

The Skeptical Hook'er


Marc on June 10, 2011 at 10:24 AM said...

I ran into a similar problem myself recently. I've been writing since I was a little kid, and when I lost my job a couple years ago and decided to try being an author as a career (ya know, like I'd always wanted), I finally finished this one piece that I'd wanted to do more with for a long time. One of the best pieces I'd ever written, and even though I feel like it could use a bit of tuning, I still enjoy cracking it open and reading a few random pages. However, I'd thought it was so good and wanted that grassroots fanbase so badly that I went to a self-publisher and paid out the hoo-ha to get my book printed. It has a Windows Paint cover (which I had put together as a concept, thinking they'd update it with better images), and I got sucked into marketing packages that didn't do a thing to help me sell any books.

I still want to try my hand at this author thing and hope my submission to you gals impressed. Like every piece we write, as it's one of my more recent ones, I think it's one of my best. Even though it's written fairly simply, from very youthful perspectives, I still feel like it shows some growth compared to my past work.

But yes, the desire to hedge one's bets and "Settle" for self-publishing, for fear that agents and big-time publishers won't accept manuscripts is pretty heavy, and allowing one's work to sit a spell and cool off before attacking it further can help.

However, at one point does an author let a work sit too long? And how many times does one have to let a work sit and then reattack it and then let sit and then reattack it before the work never gets sent out at all?

After all, a person can work on one thing their entire life, submit it to an agent who gets them a publishing contract, now all of a sudden, they have maybe a few months to a year to work on their next big thing, and they can't do it because their first took them upwards of 20 years! ;-)

Michelle Birbeck on June 10, 2011 at 12:14 PM said...

I spent a long time working on my book before I even thought about submitting it to anyone. And before that I'd written lots of other things as well, ranging from short stories to full books, but it wasn't until this last year that I actually thought I was ready to tackle the whole publishing thing.
Still, rejections came in, one after another, but I kept trying and kept at it, and it paid off in the end, twice in the space of a month I ended up with acceptances, and for two different pieces of work with two different publishers.
It absolutely pays to wait and rework and edit. Even if the editing costs b ecause you're self publishing, it is worth every single penny!

Jen Daiker on June 10, 2011 at 5:37 PM said...

I'm thankful that a few publishing houses I sent my work to rejected me because it allowed my writing to improve. I've written five books and each time they improve so much more!

I think the excitement, jealousy, want, frustration all mixed together makes you hungry to have what others have. Causing you to dive into publishing whether you're prepared or not! It's sort of insane how much you'll push your book even it says LIKE a thousand times.

Live & learn. I'm hoping that my next novel that's queried: 30 Guys in 30 Days is more well received because I took the time to perfect it.

Lyn Midnight on June 10, 2011 at 5:41 PM said...

100% with you on that. ;)

Also, I too had a similar experience and I keep having it over and over because I make the mistake of not writing a while and then jumping back into it. It's like literary jetlag.

So now I've two unfinished drafts and a lot of impatience at those imperfections. Every time I go back, I decide I can do better but then I get discouraged by the mountain that I'm supposed to raise on my shoulders. Luckily, I have found a good crit partner, finally. So there's hope at least.

I like you Skeptical Hook'er. You hook me with you conciseness and straightforwardness. Keep it up. ;)

Ready, Aim, Hook Me on June 10, 2011 at 6:04 PM said...

One thing I should probably say that just popped into my noggin. I admire writers who are brave enough to put themselves out there. I think it takes courage to say, "publish or bust" and roll with it. I couldn't do it. I would belabor each and every decision until I was sure. Then I'd go back and do it all over to be doubly sure.
The only thing I worry about, and from seeing some of the submissions, the rush is taking a bit of greatness from the writer. And I want you all to be great. Anyway, thanks for looking and thanks to all who comment. I will send you a box of delicious brownies. *if you don't get said brownies blame the post office. I know I will.
Skeptical hook'er

Hildie McQueen on June 10, 2011 at 7:43 PM said...

What an interesting topic. There are some deserving authors with great works who have gone on to take shortcuts and it's paid off. We reaped the benefits of the brave people that take risks. However, you are correct, I have read many books from newly published authors that have either self-pubbed or somehow got published despite the fact that the book was not quite ready. It's a tough call, either way. For every story written, I believe there is a reader out there that benefits. It's getting easier and easier to get published with so many small presses coming out. It's both a great thing and a scary development. Overall, as a writer I am thankful.

Elisabeth Hirsch on June 10, 2011 at 9:49 PM said...

Such great advice. Sometimes it's good to step back and let things settle so they can be fixed later ;)

Misty Provencher on June 13, 2011 at 3:38 AM said...

I'm over 40. I don't know where you guys are on the timeline, but even though 40 doesn't feel any different inside, I'm starting to think of the outside. I want to get things moving, you know? That's the rush for me. It's time.

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