Monday, September 29, 2014

Authors Say the Funniest Things by Linda S. Glaz

“You didn’t read far enough. The story gets really good in the third chapter!”
Well, yes. It probably does. But what makes this author think someone is going to wait that long to become vested in the characters?
“I already self-published it on Amazon, and the sales aren’t all that great. I need an agent to take it to the next level. But the reviews are wonderful!”
In other words, I need an agent to try to convince a publisher that even though it didn’t sell well, if only THEY would publish it, it would. And my family and best friends loved it. Nope. It doesn’t pay to look at material that has already been published unless the author can show a real level of platform or sales numbers that make my eyes explode. And if that’s the case, why do they need another publisher? (And why would they need me, I can’t see their work anymore?)
“I no once you read the story! youl’l be happy to werk on bringing the gramer and puntuashun up to par cuz its SOOO good.’
And there you have it. So often a story that really could be amazing is sent out far too soon. Without critique partners, without serious edits, and often, without even a basic knowledge of grammar and punctuation, of current writing styles, and so forth, a writer is so invested in his or her story that they feel the need to share it immediately. I know I did. And if it isn’t polished more closely than the Hope diamond, it won’t shine. It won’t stand a chance to be considered above the rest in the pile.
“I’ve worked really hard on this for three months. I got laid off and figured why not? All of my friends love it. One who reads two books every week said she never read a better story.”
Our friends love us. They are impressed that we’ve written a book. They will love it even if it suffers bad construction. They are, after all, our friends. A good story takes time and work.
“You didn’t read far enough. The story gets really good in the third chapter!”
Again, folks, that just doesn’t cut it. As writers we all know it has to shine in the first chapter. No, it has to shine on the first page. No, again. IT HAS TO SHINE IN THE FIRST LINE.
You novel must grab a reader from the first words and force them to read on.
Be prepared: write, polish, review, and rewrite.
Let your words sing directly to your readers’ hearts.


Terri Tiffany said...

It's a hard lesson to learn. I won't let my good friends read my work because I know they will be biased. I also know my book has to go through many steps before I send it out there but in the past, I didn't. I hoped someone would find it amazing despite it being unprepared and not the best it could be. I wrote seven books before one was accepted. It might take seven more before the next one is.

Tom Threadgill said...

Hi there. I'm writing a book about a guy that kills people and throws some of their bones (but not all of them) into a grinder and then mixes it with hay and feeds it to his cows. And this other guy, an FBI dude, is the only one that even realizes a killer's out there. The end.

Wanna represent me?

Janet Grunst said...

Wow~ that Tom Threadgill guy might really have something. I hope it's not contagious.

Great post, Linda, to remind us (again) to hone our skills and get someone who will be brutally honest critic it.

Linda Glaz said...

You all are so funny. I hear you, Terry, that's how it works. We're in a rush. Tom, I guess maybe there's a slot for you. Janet, I hope not either!

Rick Barry said...

I'm no agent, but I get funny requests too. "You're a published novelist? Wonderful! Maybe you can tell me how to get my collection of poems published!"

The fact that I can conjure up characters and plots does not mean I have a magic formula for creating cookbooks, poetry collections, graphic novels, or anything else.

Linda Glaz said...

I hear ya. I get that too. How do I get my work published? And it's before they know I'm an agent. It's so funny because my unfiltered mouth wants to say, "Write something that's publishable!" But I don't. I tell them to work hard and submit it to some editor or agent who doesn't have a personal connection, hence a bias toward their work. Pretty good, huh?

Nancee said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Linda! I'm just finishing a book for a review, and the plot has such promise, but the luster is lacking. So much could have been done better by polishing, grammar checks, spellchecks. You know the story. Thanks for sharing a wonderful blog post!

Linda Glaz said...

Makes reviews difficult, doesn't it, Nancee? We want to be able to cheer folks on, but when it's just so-so, it's hard to do.

Christina Banks said...

It's so easy to get impatient while waiting for publication. I'm thankful for a husband who understands the need to learn the craft before being ready. This weekend, I was able to pitch my novel to agents for the first time. I still have some work to do, but I hope I did better than the writers you mentioned.

Linda Glaz said...

Christina, just by virtue of the fact that you are studying what is right and wrong puts you heads above the rest. Hope your pitches go well!!!

Rohn Federbush said...

My villain hides his victims' bones among the zoology collection of specimen at the University of Michigan.

Rohn Federbush

Linda Glaz said...

oooh, nice and creepy