Friday, September 16, 2011

Noticing Changes

Current Project: Sharks
Status: moving along slowly

I read a post on facebook that reminded me of my time with weight watchers when I started loosing weight. It felt so good when I had lost my first ten pounds and I was so proud of myself but no one noticed. I discovered that until I lost over thirty pounds no one commented. But I was so proud of myself and wanted everyone to notice. So how does this tie into our topic of rejections you ask?

As a publisher/editor I read a lot of manuscripts and I read many from the same authors. I like to think that when I spend hours on editing and copy editing that I will see the learning curve going up on the next submitted ms. I have found that while I am willing to take the time (multiple reads and hours of exhausting work) I need to see improvement if I am going to buy a ms again from that author.

When I first began writing, I sincerely believed that if I wrote a great story the publishing house would buy it. I thought that if I had a few mistakes: commas, pov problems, dangling participles... the house would be more than willing to make these mistakes go away. Boy was I wrong. Now that I am on the other end, I know how important grammar and sentence structure are to the editor. An editor can not get to the elements of the story if they are forever having to scratch their head and think, huh...

Rejections are a learning process for the author. We all have elements that might not be a strength i.e. grammar, characterization, pov, plotting... and of course the list goes on and on. I always had trouble with pov. Thankfully I had critique partners who could teach me and help me learn.

If that rejection letter is to be avoided make sure all the elements are in place, don't take it to personally and learn, learn, learn from the rejections. Hopefully the editor will tell you why he/she rejected your manuscript. Whatever you do be proud of all your accomplishments even if rejected. How many people can say they have finished a book? And how many people say they want to write one?


Paty Jager said...

Well said, Chris! I agree it is much easier to reject a story that isn't well crafted than one that is.

Genene Valleau said...

Good points, Chris! I know the desire to be recognized for even our small accomplishments--even if we're the only ones noticing.

And finishing and submitting a book is a BIG accomplishment. Giving it the best polish we can in all ways is even better and, hopefully, we be noticed with a sale!