Archive for December 13th, 2006

Business is Business

Although I might be drawn toward the writing business by passion, or obstinacy, or whatever, I need always to keep in mind that it *is* a business. Like any business, it has its own rules and I ignore them at my peril.

A point in case: I just received another cold hard slap in the chops this week – a submission rejection. This time it was with some feedback, because it was for a requested (full) manuscript. 

In the back of my own mind, I knew that the novel could still be improved. I suppose all novels could be improved, even at the time of going to press, but improvement is most critical for a writer trying to break in. A debut novel needs strong impact; I now know that I can write a good query letter and synopsis, and that the concept for the novel is intriguing enough to be requested by the third agent it was submitted to, but the novel needs to lead where the proposal points.

Feedback is a rare thing in the time-starved working day of any publisher or agent.  Now I could get dispondant (and a short period of grief is only natural after any rejection), but that won’t get the book published. Rather, I choose to pick myself up, dust myself off, and — most important of all — take onboard the feedback of someone who knows the business ,and then do something with it.  Taking that advice on board may require a radical re-focussing effort on my part, but in the long run it might proove necessary to break into the business. On the positive side, I now know my writing style, characterization, level of research, and ability to pace the story are commendable (by at least one person); I proceed from that.

I am reminded of something Mark Twain said: opportunity eludes most people, because it is disguised as hard work (paraphrased).

I’ll be doing a lot of reading, thinking, and typing over Christmas.

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