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
Ready Aim Hook Me began in 2011 as a community of writers and readers eager to talk about the stories that rocked their worlds, and which ones they couldn’t pick off the street with James Bond and a million bucks.
We’re composed of three hard-working girls practiced in the art of reading, writing, and critique, shamelessly propositioning unpublished and published writers to show us what they’ve got.
Will you hook us in your first five lines, five pages, or will you take us all the way?
As I mentioned last week, D.S Tracy and I went to a writer's convention over the past weekend. During the Saturday luncheon, there was a panel of editors and agents who read what was called the "First Page Slush Pile" while we ate our meals. These first pages came from those sitting in the audience. No names were revealed.
One at a time, a first page was pulled from the pile and one of the editors would start reading out loud to the whole crowd (several hundred people). Pretty daring, if I might add. As the piece was being read, if the remaining panel of editors and agents liked it, they kept their hands down and the reader would go on. If they didn't like it, they would raise their hand at the place where they, personally, would have rejected it. Once all the agents and editors hands were in the air, the reader stopped reading.
Not one piece that was presented made it to the end of the first page. EVERY piece was rejected. Some were rejected by the editors and agents half way through. Others were rejected on the VERY FIRST WORD. Others didn't even get passed the first paragraph.
The agents and editors were tough, BUT they explained why those pieces didn't work--too many adverbs, too many adjectives, describing the setting or scene WAY TOO LONG, not jumping into the action right away, there was nothing to hook them to keep reading.
As I sat there listening, I agreed with the agents and editors on all accounts. Most of the submissions were boring, describing the color of the male characters eyes or what the weather was. Others sitting near me were getting FURIOUS. They were not happy at all by what appeared as coldness and cruelty the agents and editors expressed toward these works.
One lady was even so bold as to challenge the panel. She thought it was unfair that the agents and editors rejected these pieces of "art" so quickly. She said sometimes it takes 30 pages before the story picks up and she would NEVER reject a story without reading the first three chapters. Boy was she mad (you could see it written all over her face and in the tone of her words). It was a pretty tense moment for sure.
The agents and editors went on to explain just how many query letters come across their desk in a year--thousands, folks. Thousands. And this is in addition to the regular work they are expected to complete each day as well (dealing with their already signed clients, contacting publishers and editors, etc . . .) They explained that YES, sometimes they reject a manuscript based on the first paragraph. It's that fast. It's that quick. Sometimes that's all the time they have. And because they've done this so long, they can usually tell by the end of a first page if the novel is worth their time to read on.
Cold. Hard. Cruel. But it is the reality.
That's why it is SO important to make your first paragraph, your first page, your first chapter the very best it can be. You are competing against a whole lot of other writers out there who want the same thing as you.
One gentleman on the panel (not an agent or editor, but a well-known author) even went on to say (paraphrasing here): "It's your first word that will hook an agent/editor to read the first sentence. It's the first sentence that will buy you the first paragraph and the first paragraph that will buy you the first page."
Very true. It was never made so clear to me as watching that panel of agents and editors destroy the hopes of those individuals who submitted their first pages.
We here at Ready, Aim, Hook Me have been "preaching" this concept since the very beginning when we started this blog--can you hook us with your first line, first paragraph, and so on. We didn't just make this up to torture you. I promise. We just know the realities of what you're up against.
Is it fair to be judged so quickly? No not at all. It's completely unfair. I will agree with you on that.
Is it going to change? Nope. Agents and editors will reject you based simply on how your first paragraph reads. They will. I saw it in person.
So you better darn well make your first word, first line, first paragraph, first page stand out--in a good way.
If you can't see a comment box below post, scroll up to the top and click "comments" in the header. *shakes hook'er fist at blog template*
We seem to be having some technical difficulties with commenting. Hopefully, it is just an issue with blogger and it'll be easier in the future. Sorry for the trouble.
Call for Submissions
How many hook'ers love your book? Want to find out?
Whether you have a finished manuscript in need of feedback or a published novel looking for a review, we're your gals.
If you think you've got what it takes to hook us from the first page to last, then check out our Contact Us page for further details, guidelines, and how to submit.
Oh, and just so you know, we'll never give a negative review. Not on our blog. Not on any public site. So you have nothing to lose. Public humiliation isn't our style. We're here to lift up great authors, not tear them down.
Does that mean we give positive reviews to everyone who submits? No. We may be Hook'ers but we're not easy. In fact, only the BEST of the BEST will receive our tag line, "2 out of 3 Hook'ers LOVE my book!" Or better yet, "3 out of 3 Hook'ers LOVE my book!"