Yes, I’ve been missing in action and we won’t go into all the reasons. Partially, the migraines and ensuing other problems are getting worse. Partially, I’m still revising and I went to the beginning to make some more changes. Partially, I got very irritated when the computer crashed and I lost my maps I had spent weeks on. Partially, I’ve been doing some freelance articles for a magazine.
Mainly, I haven’t had anything interesting to say.
However, today, someone I know as an online friend announced he/she was taking a break for a month and finishing their book. He/she is then going to send it to some publishers.
Me, “You’re going to finish writing a book and send it to publishers?”
“Yes, it’s time to get it done.”
Me, “You know most major publishers won’t take material from anyone but agents.”
“I’ve done a lot of research. I know which publishers I want to approach. Besides, agents don’t work for free and I don’t want to give up control of my book. I’m a control freak.”
Me, after stunned silence, “I had two publishers request my manuscript and I thank heavens I wasn’t foolish enough to send it to them as it was. The agent who asked for revisions has helped me improve this story so much I don’t even recognize it.”
“Yes, well, I want to get mine done and published.”
The unspoken thought being, “Yeah, you screw around doing revisions all you want, I’m going to get published.”
Will called earlier, and we spoke for a while. I related the story to him and he’s not even privy to the industry, but he was astounded. “Do they really think it’s that simple?”
“I don’t really like paying lawyers, but there’s a reason you don’t go to court without one.”
“Yes, and aside from professional representation, the agent knows what needs to be polished to get the material in the best possible shape before sending it out.”
He paused for a minute. “So they’re just going to write this book and ship it off?”
Obviously, I hope this person realizes their dream because they really are a good person and everyone deserves to see their dreams come true. I’m just a little concerned about the route he/she is taking.
I read back over the first chapter of FAR RIDER today and realized how remarkably improved it is based on suggestions from the agent’s minion. Said minion came up with an opening scenario I doubt I would have imagined.
Beth Shope made a comment about the new opening and said, “I was going to sleep and I thought about this. What happens to the horse?”
Good question. What does happen to the horse?
So, the new opening, I think, is an absolute knock out. These are two new exciting elements to the story that wouldn’t have been there without these suggestions.
I’ve said this before and I really can’t think of how many times and how many ways to say it. Good beta readers are worth their weight in gold. They see things you don’t see. There are some writers who are so well trained and talented, they need little advice. Most mortals need fresh eyes.
Speaking of beta readers, mine have just finished commenting on a “new” chapter. The chapter replaces one that wasn’t working. When a person is doing revisions, they wind up with new material. That new material is first draft. So, whole the majority of the manuscript might need just minor tweaking here and there, the first draft parts are all the way back to the beginning. For me, that means three or four rewrites after the beta readers see it.
Between some very good beta readers and agent suggestions, the manuscript should be competitive in the marketplace.
Going the step above and beyond, is the agent who makes suggestions and gives advice based on their professional knowledge of what’s happening, but I think part of it is also a gut feeling. The agent wants to sell a book. You want to sell a book. They are not your enemy; they’re the one in the trenches with you.
Like I said, I wish this person all the luck in the world, but I have doubts it will turn out quite as they planned. Then again, they’ll have a book going to publishers in a month and I won’t.
Who am I to say anything?