Month: December 2010

When Friends and Family Don’t Read Your Work

Today I’m not thinking about anyone specifically, but I’ve had this subject on my mind for a very long time. It hurts when other don’t acknowledge our success because it might not be an obvious success. For instance, when I self-published there were some people who never said a word about it or seemed to care. I’ve wondered a thousand times that if that book had come out from a large New York publisher if those people would have cared then. Now that I’m with a small publisher, my mind goes in the same direction. If there are some people close to me that don’t seem to care, would they care if I had a larger publisher, if I made the New York Times Bestseller list? If I did things a more conventional way?

More than likely, these people I care about will never truly care about these successes of mine. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that this doesn’t mean they don’t care about me.

Much of this might have to do with content. Your grandma might not wish to read the violence or love scenes you put in your book. Much of it might have to do with hobbies. Maybe your cousin simply doesn’t like to read, and even though you did everything together as children, he’d rather pat you on the back for making a hole-in-one at the golf course than finishing that novel and getting an agent. He simply “doesn’t get it.” Then again, maybe you don’t get something that means a lot to him. Imagine that.

So what do you do at this point? Do you zip your mouth shut around friends and family members who obviously don’t care about what you do? Do you talk about your hobbies – your job – anyway? What if it’s your spouse? I have one friend who writes. It’s her passion, but her husband has never read any of her work. That depresses me. I need the support of my husband, but I figure I’d keep writing anyway if he didn’t care. After all, I think it’s best if we don’t write for the approval of specific people. I’ve done that before, and it’s no fun when it collapses at your feet.

Maybe this is all because we know that if we were to reach these people who don’t care, that would be the ultimate success. Maybe.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in Writing Process, 44 comments

Sometimes They DO Love Your Book

You’ve queried for months, maybe for years…

You’ve had full requests, partial requests…

You’ve received encouraging emails…

Yeah, right.

“I loved your work, but it’s not a good fit at this time.”

“I’ll consider your work if you revise this, this, and this.”

So you revise.

“No, thanks, you didn’t nail it for what I need.”

So you query some more.You were upbeat at first, and now you’re kind of pissed off. This whole “keep a good attitude” thing is getting on your nerves.Your beta readers love your work. One of them might even be a published author and really knows what he’s talking about. Why on earth isn’t anybody picking up your book? Maybe you’re on submission. Maybe you’re just looking for an agent. Maybe you’re trying small publishers. Whatever you’re doing, nothing is happening except rejection.

What I Learned This Weekend

I was talking to someone in the publishing industry this weekend – someone who has to reject manuscripts on a regular basis, and although I know the publishing industry is subjective, I didn’t realize it from this angle. Sometimes they LOVE YOUR BOOK. But sometimes they see it will take too much work to fix a certain aspect of the story for the crazy publishing timeline they are smashed into, or sometimes it’s too similar to something else out there, or sometimes they just accepted something similar, or sometimes they know it’s a story that simply will not sell in the market for next year, or sometimes…

You get the idea.

SUBJECTIVE does not concern only the likability or quality of your manuscript. Subjective means timing. Subjective means about a billion other factors. And guess what? Most agents and publishers and editors do not have time to handhold authors and tell them that although their book was freaking awesome, they can’t take it because of this and this and this and this. And it’s not only a matter of time – it’s a matter of business. They send out a form letter and all YOU see is, “NO.”

My point here today is that every no does not always mean your book sucks. It’s like trying to read someone’s mind – impossible. You don’t know the factors that went into that “No.” Publishing is a business. When you start to see things from this perspective more and more things fall into place, including your own writing.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in All Things Publishing, 31 comments