chasingthecrazies

Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc. June 28, 2013

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If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript.  You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight.  You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.

 

The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript.  By reading each agent’s comments, I hope you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.

 

Today, I am proud to share Literary Agent, Andrea Somberg’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.

 

 

Amy: Many writers have the impression that a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?

 

Andrea: It’s not so much the first line as the first few paragraphs and pages. In that space of time you can get a pretty good sense of the writer‘s narrative voice and the strength of the prose.  Of course, this isn’t a foolproof method!  But writing a novel is so incredibly difficult, usually it’s a good bet that if the opening pages aren’t solid, the rest of the manuscript will fall apart at some point.   Also, as an agent, the question I am constantly asking myself is: can I sell this? Will an editor take this on?  Will readers embrace it?  And both editors and readers often decide whether to buy a book based on the opening pages.

 

 

Amy: Many times a writer is told to stay away from common openings like dreams, eating breakfast, riding in a car, etc. What are some common openings you recommend writers stay away from?

 

Andrea: Yes, all of the above is great advice!  Especially dream sequences. Also, I am always a bit wary of prologues…

 

 

Amy: When you’ve responded to a writer to request a partial or full manuscript, what was it about their first pages that piqued your interest?

 

Andrea: Usually it’s their narrative voice and the strength of their prose.  It’s also wonderful if they’re able to introduce the protagonist and give me some insight into why this character might be compelling. Of course, all of this is hard to accomplish in such a small space!

 

 

Amy: What are some common mistakes writers make in their first five pages?

 

Andrea: I think that there’s a tendency to try to open with a high stakes situation in an attempt to draw the reader in.   But trying to build tension without first creating some type of emotional connection between the reader and the protagonist often falls flat.

 

 

Amy: What resonates with you most in those first pages? Voice? Pacing? Unique concept?

 

Andrea: ‘Voice’ is usually the most important thing for me!  No matter what the story is, if the narrative voice resonates with me, I’ll ask to see more.  Of course, voice is one of those tricky things, though, where it’s so highly subjective.  I could absolutely love the voice, while someone else has reservations – and vice versa!

 

 

A literary agent for over ten years, Andrea Somberg represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects aimed at a young adult and middle grade audience.  Previously an agent at the Donald Maass Agency and Vigliano Associates, she joined Harvey Klinger Inc. in the spring of 2005.  Her client list is quite full, however she is always actively looking to take on new authors who write in the following categories:  Fiction; literary, commercial, women’s fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, middle grade. Nonfiction: memoir, narrative, popular science,  pop-culture, humor, how-to, parenting, self-help, lifestyle, travel, interior design, crafts, cookbooks, business, sports, health & fitness. Harvey Klinger Inc. began as a one-man, one office literary agency in October, 1977. Over the years, it has grown and expanded, and is widely recognized among the top boutique literary agencies in the publishing industry today. It actively markets film/tv international, and other subsidiary rights, working with a vast network of co-agents in L.A. and around the globe. To learn more about Andrea, check out her website, follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook.

 

If you’re interested in submitting to Andrea, please make sure to check the Harvey Klinger, Inc. website for their guidelines.

 

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Erica Cameron June 26, 2013

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Not all writers take the same path to publication.  Some go the traditional route (agent to publisher). Others self-publish. And then there are those like today’s featured author, Erica Cameron, who work directly with a publisher and then connect with an agent.  But no matter the path, one thing links all writers: the determination to tell a great story and get it in the hands of readers. Erica’s story proves that belief in your work, and connecting with the right people, can make your publishing dream come true.

 

Here is Erica’s journey…

 

Amy: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

 

Erica: I didn’t decide to give writing a real shot as a career until I was almost out of college, but I should have known a lot earlier than that. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t addicted to books and in eighth grade our English teacher asked us to get into groups and write and illustrate a picture book. I worked alone and wrote a forty-page mystery novel (I spent a lot of time reading my dad’s Grisham and Patterson books in those days). After that I tried writing an epic fantasy novel in high school… and I had no idea what I was doing, so that died pretty fast. I may not have consciously decided I wanted to be a writer until college, but when I look back at my life it was always pretty obvious.

 

 

Amy: How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered interest?

 

Erica: Short answer, two. SING was my second attempt at querying. The long version is I finished my first novel in 2008 and began querying. It got some interest from agents—a couple of full requests and an almost-offer—and even a publication offer from a small press. Around the time I received the offer from the press, I realized there were so many problems with the story that the book needed to be rewritten completely. The first book was okay, but I’d created so many dead ends and impossibilities with the mythology of the world I’d built that trying to finish out the series was like trying to walk through a brick wall. The second novel I wrote is still only two-thirds finished, a contemporary twist on the “boy next door” story. Before I could finish it and start querying, I began working on SING. Once I wrote the novel version during NaNoWriMo in 2011, everything happened rather quickly. I had an offer from Spencer Hill before I could really begin querying. The few queries I did send out all garnered very polite rejections. Over the past year I’ve learned that conferences and writing events work a whole lot better for me than queries.

 

 

Amy: If one manuscript was continuing to get rejected, how did you know it was time to move on to a new project?

 

Erica: It depends on the project and the rejections. If I go through several versions of the query and no one even wants to take a look at the pages, there may be something wrong with the concept. If I’m getting interest, but the rejections are citing things like market trends and genre difficulties, I’ll keep querying until I run out of places to send the story. Like people say, this business is subjective and all it takes is one person willing to take a chance on you.

 

 

Amy: I love the fact that you talk about working in psychology labs during college.  How did that help form the premise for SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE?

 

Erica: One of the labs I worked for worked with preschoolers and kindergarteners to gauge their reading level and linguistic development while the other was attempting to develop an early diagnosis and testing criteria for childhood psychopathy. The lab work didn’t directly impact SING, but the knowledge I picked up over the course of my degree definitely helped. I used some of the theories and speculations I learned and twisted them to suit my needs.

 

 

Amy: Did your query for SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE come easily or did it go through many drafts?

 

Erica: Summarizing is not my strong suit. My queries always get tweaked and rewritten a handful of times before I dare send them out to anyone. The query for SING, though, didn’t get used that often. I sent out about a dozen of them in total, I think. I pitched Spencer Hill in person, so no query necessary! It’s an interesting story and one I wrote about on my blog here: http://www.byericacameron.com/2012/07/party-crashing-changes-lives.html

 

 

Amy: Did you have critique partners for SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE? If so, how critical were they to your writing process?

 

Erica: My long-time critique partner and co-author is Lani Woodland and she is instrumental to everything I do. The number of times I’ve kept her on Skype for hours just so I can bounce plot ideas off her… well, I’ve stopped counting how often that’s happened. Lani, my sister, and my mother are always my first readers. Only after a book has passed through that gauntlet do I hand it over to my agent or pass it to my editors.

 

 

Amy: How many agents did you query for SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE? Did you receive immediate responses or did you have to wait a while for replies?

 

Erica: Once I had interest from Spencer Hill, I sent out a handful of queries—maybe six or so. I got a few rejections in very good time. A few never responded. The book sold within a month of Spencer Hill requesting the manuscript, so I stopped querying SING after that. I didn’t start querying again until I was getting ready to submit the second book in The Dream War Saga to my editors. I connected with Michael Stearns from Upstart Crow at an SCBWI conference around this time and he’s the one who passed my book to Danielle Chiotti. Like the story of how I sold SING, the story of the roundabout way of how I found my agent is kind of involved. The whole thing is up on my blog here: http://www.byericacameron.com/2013/03/i-have-agent-part-2.html

 

 

Amy: Can you give a short summary of your call with your agent, Danielle Chiotti? How did you know she was a good fit for you?

 

Erica: My call with Danielle was more than an hour a half of wonderfully fun, meandering conversation about my book, my series, my other ideas, publishing in general, and everything else. There was no awkwardness at all and we talked like we’d known each other for years. She loved SING, loved the ideas I had for other books, and officially offered representation during the call. I knew Danielle would be a good fit for me because she not only loved my work, she saw past the strange situation I was in (since I sold SING on my own, she doesn’t have the subright sales on that book yet), and looked at the career I want to have. That’s one of the most important things in an agent, I think: someone who believes not only in your current work, but in what you can do for each other over the course of a career.

 

 

Amy: What was one piece of advice you got during your early writing stages that has stuck with you to this day?

 

Erica: There are two pieces of advice I always try to follow or remember: First drafts are allowed to suck and make writing a daily habit. They go hand in hand very well, as far as advice goes. It was especially useful to remember while writing the first draft of the sequel to SING. That book dragged every bit of energy and life out of my brain and, while I was writing, I was convinced it sucked. I thought it was an awful piece of awfulness and no one would ever want to read it. At the same time, if I didn’t finish the draft there’s no way it would ever get any better. You can’t fix something that doesn’t exist and it’s easier to push through those sucky first drafts if you make it a habit to write every day. A hundred words, a thousand words, five thousand words—whatever it is, if you write a little bit every day you’ll hit “The End” eventually.

 

 

Amy: Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your writing dream? If so, what motivated you to keep writing?

 

Erica: Never. Over the past fifteen years of jumping from job to job, I’ve learned something: I suck at being employed. I’m not a leader or a follower, so I don’t do well as a boss or an employee. I also get fantastically bored with a job that I don’t find interesting or challenging and end up quitting as soon as I find something new. Writing is the only job that I’ve stuck with for more than two and a half years and the only one I’ve never gotten bored with or tired of. Despite the dead ends and the frustrations and the rejections and the hurry up and wait of life in publishing, it’s not something I would ever give up on completely. My passion for stories and how much fun I have playing with the ideas that pop into my head keep me pushing forward even though I have to pull extra time out of nowhere to make it work sometimes. To be honest, though, I can’t wait until the day I can live off my writing.

 

 

 

Nightingale

 

 

 

Mariella Teagen hasn’t spoken a word in four years.

 

She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.

 

Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.

 

Celease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Celease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.

 

Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella’s life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.

 

 

Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dancer, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvadore Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.

 

On the more practical side, Erica graduated from Florida State University in 2007 with a double major in psychology and creative writing. Having worked in psychology labs during her college years, she realized true passion lay in telling stories. She began pursuing publication in earnest after graduation and, so far, her novels run the genre gamut, but all fall within the young adult spectrum. Erica’s first novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale is due out March 2014 from Spencer Hill Press. Check out her website or connect to her through Twitter: @byericacameron, Facebook: /byericacameron, Pinterest: /byericacameron or Tumblr: themysticaldemystified.com.

 

A Little Space, A Little Time June 24, 2013

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The Famous Buckingham Fountain (Downtown Chicago)

 

 

 

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’ve been going a little nuts lately over this querying thing. Even my friends and family have noticed and asked me to “lighten up.”

 

As much as I don’t want to admit it, they’re right.  My writing has become an all-consuming thing for me and I know it’s not healthy.  It’s gotten so bad that I can’t even finish drafting two new ideas I have because I’m too wrapped up in what’s going to happen with FIGHTING CHANCE.

 

Not good.

 

So as luck would have it, I left town for a couple of days (sans computer) and tried to forget about plotting, drafting, querying and all the intense pressure I’d been putting on myself to make this publishing thing happen. The first several days I was pretty anxious, wanting to check my email every ten seconds and itching to jump on Twitter to see if I missed any “important” news.  And then something brilliant happened.  I got distracted by the beautiful sights, smells, and people in Chicago.

 

I’d forgotten how much I loved the city, and the museums, and the food.  For days, I wandered in and out of the tree-lined streets and along the lake and basked in the beauty of the day.  My mind wasn’t stuck on why my query wasn’t working. Or the reasons surrounding why the last agent rejected my full.  I was purely and simply living. And you know what? It felt great.

 

So now that I’m home, I’m hoping to remember the sense of freedom I discovered in Chicago.  The need to have light shoulders and not be burdened by worrying what’s going to happen next.  What I really need to remember is that all good things come in time.  That by taking a break, and separating myself from my work, I can find the old me.  The one who WANTS to sit at the computer and create new worlds-not the person who feels chained to writing and desperate to succeed.

 

I’m not sure I can guarantee how long this clarity will last but I hope it’s long enough to remember why I write.  It’s what fills me up and makes me whole-and should NEVER feel like a burden.  If nothing else, I pray I have enough sense to give myself  a little space and time if I’m ever feeling overwhelmed again.  There’s nothing wrong with stepping away, and filling yourself with other kinds of inspiration, as long as it leads you back to the thing you love.

 

 

 

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Skyline view from The Hancock Tower

 

FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Michelle L. Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency June 14, 2013

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If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript.  You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight.  You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.

 

The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript.  By reading each agent’s comments, I hope you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.

 

Today, I am proud to share Literary Agent, Michelle Johnson’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.

 

 

Amy: Many writers have the impression that a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?

 

Michelle: I can’t stress enough how important it is to give a great first line. A good first line should catch the reader off guard and set up the tone of the book. My best advice is to go to the book store and find the bestseller rack – particularly the bestsellers in your genre – and open them and read the first few lines of each one. See what is interesting about it and what pulls you in. This is something I do every time I’m in a bookstore. (Guilty pleasure!)

 

I often read sample pages and find the ideal first line buried on the second or third page, so it would be a very good thing to really think about what the hook of your book (or your main character) is and tie that in with your opening line.

 

 

Amy: Many times a writer is told to stay away from common openings like dreams, eating breakfast, riding in a car, etc. What are some common openings you recommend writers stay away from?

 

Michelle: Having the character waking up then looking in a mirror to describe himself is the single most common cliché opening. Waking up and seeing the sun shining through the window – this happens a lot, too. Dream sequence openings are also overdone.

 

It’s hard because all the good openings have been done, so you have to think about an interesting or original reason to be doing something.

 

 

Amy: When you’ve responded to a writer to request a partial or full manuscript, what was it about their first pages that piqued your interest?

 

Michelle: A good opening line, a strong connection to the main character, and great writing/voice. The most important thing to me is to connect with the main character. If I care about the character quickly and deeply and that character feels real to me, I will want to read the entire book. If the character is intriguing but the writing not polished, it will quickly eliminate my desire to read on.

 

 

Amy: What are some common mistakes writers make in their first five pages?

 

Michelle: Starting off too abruptly. When you start a scene off with someone getting hurt or betrayed or abandoned, the problem is that we haven’t seen enough of that character to care that this is happening to them. You need to start a book with an introduction to your character – have them acting in a way that they would normally act on any normal day and make that character compelling. If you don’t do this the readers won’t care when the character’s world gets turned upside down.

 

Speaking of turning the world upside down – another common mistake writers make is the use of clichés. We want to see new and fresh, not cliché. Though I have seen old clichés dressed up to be original and funny. That takes skill and good humor, and I always appreciate that when it is well done.

 

 

Amy: What resonates with you most in those first pages? Voice? Pacing? Unique concept?

 

Michelle: All of the above. Voice is huge, of course, as it is an indication of how the writing will be all the way through. The pacing is important to set the tone of your novel. You don’t want your thriller to start out with a long, drawn-out descriptive scene of the flowerbed in the backyard next door. Unless, of course, someone is burying a body in said flowerbed, then you could aptly describe the annihilation of the rosebushes…

 

As for unique concept – I have come across very few queries that weren’t original ideas, or unique twists on familiar ideas. I don’t think there is ever a shortage. The secret lies in the execution of these ideas.

 

 

MichelleJ

 

Michelle L. Johnson is a literary agent, the founder of Inklings Literary Agency and has a business administration background in addition to a lifetime of working with books (sales, editing, and writing) and authors (marketing, promoting, event planning). She is also a script/story consultant for an independent film under production in Halifax, NS.

Before founding Inklings Literary Agency, she was with Corvisiero Literary Agency. She has spent many years in the editing field for private clients and multiple independent publishing houses.

She has also owned and operated a Writers’ Center and Bookstore in Virginia Beach, organizing numerous special events for authors and artists alike.

 

 

If you’re interested in submitting to Michelle, please make sure to check the Inklings Literary Agency website for their guidelines.

 

I’m going dark for a week.  But I’ll be back with more great interviews and guest posts to finish out June. Enjoy the weekend!

 

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Juliana Brandt June 12, 2013

Juliana Brandt

 

 

 

Hope.  That’s my take away after today’s W.O.W. with author, Juliana Brandt.  Juliana’s story is so much like other writers.  You pen a great story, you query it and you wait. And wait.  But with Juliana, after a long period in the query trenches, she decided to move on to a new manuscript. And then the unexpected happened-a call from an agent that would change her life.  Her story is proof that if you have an important story to tell, someone will eventually take notice and give it the recognition it deserves.

 

Here is Juliana’s journey…

 

 

Amy: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

 

Juliana: Like most writers say, I believe I always wanted to write and create stories. But I began seriously writing about three and a half years ago. I was in a car accident and sat around for a few months healing-it was the perfect time to start taking writing seriously!

 

 

Amy: How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered interest?

 

Juliana: Despite having written six books, I only queried Cadaver Dog. I was gearing up to query a manuscript entitled After Death, when Emmanuelle sent the email saying she wanted to talk.

 

 

Amy: If one manuscript was continuing to get rejected, how did you know it was time to move on to a new project?

 

Juliana: I queried my manuscript for six months and with 70 agents before I decided it was time to officially move on. Shelving Cadaver Dog and moving on to another story idea was wonderful–it gave me a breather from my book and a chance to really enjoy writing and drafting again. It was another six months before I heard from Emmanuelle–my query had been sitting in her inbox for all those months. It’s a perfect story, imop.

 

 

Amy: Did your query for CADAVER DOG come easily or did it go through many drafts?

 

Juliana: Oh goodness, I wish I had all the versions of my query still. I’m willing to bet it went through at least 30 different drafts. Each time I would query and get no response, I would redraft my query to see if a different version might draw requests.

 

 

Amy: Did you have critique partners for CADAVER DOG? If so, how critical were they to your writing process?

 

Juliana: Yes! I adore my critique partners. While I only use a few critique partners now, I had about twenty people read Cadaver Dog before I decided I was ready to query it. Even now, I so value my CPs thoughts!

 

 

Amy: How many agents did you query for CADAVER DOG? Did you receive immediate responses or did you have to wait a while for replies? 

 

Juliana: I queried about 70 different agents. I waited…and waited…and waited for responses. I wish I would have known how healthy it would have been for me to start drafting a new book during the time I was querying, but alas, I just sat around waiting for the emails to come in.

 

 

Amy: Can you give a short summary of your call with your agent, Emmanuelle Morgen?

 

Juliana: Emmanuelle is an incredible agent. We talked for about an hour, all about Cadaver Dog and my writing journey and my hopes and dreams for the future.

 

 

Amy: Publishing is a very difficult business. What was the one thing you think you did to attract agent interest?

 

Juliana:  I kept writing! I absolutely think this made a difference. Even though I decided to shelve Cadaver Dog after six months of querying, I went on to write two more books and worked hard to become a better writer.

 

 

Amy: Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your writing dream? If so, what motivated you to keep writing?

 

Juliana: Absolutely not. Even though writing and publication can be challenging and difficult, I love stories and writing and all the people I have met through it. I wouldn’t give any of that up. Some days, it’s hard to put pen to paper and I know on those days it’s okay to take a break just so long as the next day I’m right back at it.

 

 

When Juliana’s not furthering her passion for storytelling, she can be found hiking in state parks and learning how to rock climb. She hopes to always be knee-deep in the world of books. You can find her online at www.julianalbrandt.com and on Twitter @julianalbrandt

 

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY! ONE BY LEIGH ANN KOPANS June 11, 2013

Filed under: Blog,Inspiration,Publishing,YA Fiction — chasingthecrazies @ 2:39 pm
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Final ONE cover

 

 

 

Today I want to congratulate my Twitter buddy, Leigh Ann Kopans, on the release of her debut novel, ONE.  I literally devoured this book in “ONE” day.  If you enjoy Young Adult Superhero Sci-Fi with a dash of romance, you will love this book!

 

 

When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

 

It makes you a One.

 

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

 

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

 

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

 

Merrin’s mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub’s internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed.  Now it’s up to her to decide if it’s more important to fly solo, or to save everything – and everyone – she loves.

 

Available for purchase now at Amazon:

 

http://www.amazon.com/One-Universe-Volume-1/dp/1490304045/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370917660&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=one+by+leighann+kopans

 

And Barnes and Noble:

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/leighann-kopans

 

 

 

Publishing and Subjectivity Go Hand in Hand June 10, 2013

In all my talk recently about queries and changing and revising manuscripts, I forgot to point out one critical element: subjectivity.

 

Sometimes your work may be absolutely on the money.  A perfect piece that has all the elements for a successful book but for some reason an agent can’t connect with it.  Maybe it’s the voice.  Or one of the plot devices.  Perhaps they’re not sure how they can sell it in the market.  Or it could be, like one of the rejections in my case, something that would compete with their current client’s work – (ugggh!)

 

But here’s the thing, even with all the rejections, you can’t give up.  Somewhere out there in the publishing world there could be a “yes.”  One agent doesn’t like what you have on the page, but another might adore it.  The key is keep pushing and making your work better.  If your “yes” doesn’t come from an agent, it could come from an independent or small press. What’s important to remember is that all work is based on an individual’s likes and dislikes.

 

Let me give an example:

 

I just entered a contest where authors, bloggers, and agents all received a scorecard on which they were supposed to comment from 1-5 (5 being the highest) on my provided material.  One agent gave me very low marks and voted not to allow me to move on to the next round (ouch!)  A blogger also gave me pretty low marks.  An author, I really admire, gave me high marks (and some pretty amazing comments), while two other agents gave me high marks and voted me through to the next round.

 

The take away from all this? Five people – all asked to look at the same work –  all very different opinions.  At first I was disappointed by the one agent who gave me low marks as she was someone I wanted to query.  But after thinking it over, I realized it was great just to have the feedback . Most likely if I had sent her my query, I would have gotten a rejection without any comments.

 

My point to all this is simple.  Keep working.  Continue to refine your manuscript.  Yes, you are going to get rejections (maybe a lot of them) but it only takes one person to say “yes.” Remember this as you move through the query trenches. Everyone has VERY different tastes and opinions on what makes a good manuscript. All you have to do is stick with it, believe in your work, and find the right match.

 

 
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