Putting your work out to editors, publishers and agents takes a bit of courage, but it is so worth it. Not only will you gain valuable feedback but this is your ultimate goal – to sell your work to the reader. And the thing about editors, publishers and agents? They know how the greater reading community will receive your work. They know the marketplace.
You may feel at risk that your hard earned words and work will be torn to shreds – but really what are you risking? Having your work critiqued by professionals at time when you can fix the problems and work on your craft so that the next book you write is even better is far better than putting your work out there – only to find that it tanks or is poorly reviewed.
Recently I had the opportunity to pitch a couple of my manuscripts to editors at Carina Press, Harlequin and to Penguin Random House. The feedback from those editors was both informative, instructive and gave me a better understanding as what I need to work on and where my work could sit in the marketplace.
I was pretty stoked that one of those editors replied that although they thought the manuscript I pitched to them would be a difficult sell for their readership given the content, they were very keen to see another manuscript that I have – one that I agree would be a better fit for that publisher than the one I pitched.
Another editor I pitched the same story to loved my writing style but couldn’t see a fit for her in her current line up – so a no but a ‘good no’.
A completely different MS (of which I only have 6 chapters and an outline written) I pitched in a Twitter Pitch was rejected (yet another ‘good rejection’) because they felt as there were three heroines they didn’t feel that one book could do these fantastic characters justice. Now I just have to write 3 books instead of a hefty 1!!
So close but no cigar. But I was absolutely elated by these rejections because it told me three important things:
- My writing isn’t as rubbish as I often think it is.
- My stories are unique enough that I may need to give some thought about where they ‘fit’ in the marketplace and perhaps target publishers and editors who feel they have a place for it.
- That I need to pull back and focus on one thing at a time (that working on four different MS is not sustainable!)
This year I enrolled in the Writers SA Manuscript Incubator course with the wonderful Victoria Purman (The Land Girls, The Women’s Pages, The Three Miss Allens, Last of the Bonegilla Girls), with the aim of getting a second draft of ‘Among the Brave’ (My WW2 Australian Army Nurse story) done – but truth be told the second draft has been harder than the first! SO after Victoria smacked me over the hand for working on too many MS at once I am focussing on only one, a historical rural romance, with the aim of having it so polished by January that I will see my face in it (hoping that my current diet works wonders too and I look fab).
And as Nanowrimo is upon us – after accumulating some great feedback from many sources ‘The Bridge’ is getting a thorough workout and so far I am falling in love again with Poppy and JB. I love these characters so much that I hope that at some point in the future I can share their story with you all!
Soooo rounding this off – if you have a finished MS – send it out, get feedback, rework, edit, resend – JUST DO IT!