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Monday, January 26, 2009

When are you going to get published???

“Oh, it’s fine. Now when are you going to get published?”

Most of my blog readers know that I’m a writer. I’ve written and published over 200 articles and reviews. I’m also working on my own Christian fiction books. I’ve been given the go ahead from Steeple Hill to rework a few parts of my book Malicious Intent and then send it back to them for consideration for their Love Inspired Suspense line. It’s a long shot, but at least I’m in the ball game again. :) They receive between 500-1000 submissions a year and only publish 48 of those. See what I mean. Long shot. LOL.

Most of my friends have dozens of rejections lining their office walls. One of my close friends, Cara, did have success pretty early on, but still... a lot of hard work went into that success. So it was with disappointment but also a degree of realism, that I accepted my first and only rejection two years ago. It was when I submitted Prescription for Murder to the LIS line. Since that rejection, I’ve taken some time off from both papers I was writing for and even slowed down on my book reviews. All in an attempt to focus my energy on the books I’d started.

During that same time, I took a job as a freelance reader for Harlequin/Steeple Hill. A job that I love. I thought that being a reader for one of the lines I was targeting would give me some insight into what they’re looking for. There is some truth to that, as I do believe I have gathered a better understanding of the line and what makes a book work or fail.

Here’s the funny part. I’ve read numerous manuscripts for Harlequin in the last couple years. Each time feeling pretty comfortable in my evaluation of those manuscripts. Why then, is it still so hard to evaluate my own book? Seriously. I’m at a loss. I kind of think it’s because I know the story so well I read between the lines as I’m reading. I know what my characters are thinking. What they’re seeing. Smelling. Unfortunately, Jane the reader can’t do that. So, while I love my job and hope to keep it for quite some time, sadly, I’m not sure how much it’s helped me in my own writing.

Fortunately, I have a friend who is also one of their readers and I’m looking forward to her opinion of my manuscript. If you don’t have the good fortune to know a first reader or even a published author, join a writing community (like ACFW) or critique group. If that’s not an option, find a friend who loves to read. A friend that will be brutally honest with you. Not someone who will pat your back and say the nice things you want to hear. Because that won’t help you at all. I remember a long time ago I asked my mom to read one of my books and she just said, “Oh, it’s fine. Now when are you going to get published?” So not helpful. :0/

On the other hand, I have a published author friend who is very tough on me. When she sees a problem, she’ll tell you. But when something is good, she’ll tell you that too. I need that. I can work with a critical eye. I can’t learn or work with “Oh, it’s fine. Now when are you going to get published?”


Jennifer Tiszai said...

Like your new header, btw :)

I agree, one of the hardest things is finding a good critique partner. It's really impossible to be objective about your own work because you have no way of knowing how it's coming across to the reader.

But I'm so excited for you and the progress you've made in your writing. You've grown hugely, Girl!

Cara Putman said...

It was so good to see you today! Hope the brainstorming helped. And I'll get on Malicious Intent this week!