Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The feedback vacuum

Source: Pinterest

Am I more likely to get hit by a bus than find a book agent? Is my book destined to collect dust rather than royalties? Will my story be left untold, without any readers save a few good friends and family members?

I've been asking myself these questions as rejections slowly trickle into my Inbox. It's not a happy place to be. It is, actually, a place where confidence erodes and the temptation to give up creeps in.

Selling a book is no fun. It is not the rejection that is difficult; it is the lack of feedback. Because without any explanation, without any nuggets of information about my work, I feel like I'm working in a vacuum, toiling away with blinders on.

Is the subject matter stale? Does the writing need work? Is the query letter boring? Is the genre difficult to sell? Just what are the thoughts behind those terse emails I receive that say, "Thanks, but this is not for us."

What do they mean?

I may never know for sure, but that isn't going to stop me from trying to eke out some meaning from my experience. Last week while researching agents I came across a blog called Query Shark. This blog is maintained by agent Janet Reid. Reid doesn't mess around. She eats queries and spits them out. Want feedback? Reid supplies it for thirsty writers, as long as they can put on a thick skin and a learner's hat.

I've paused my search in order to soak up Reid's expertise. I'm going to rework my query again, because I refuse to be the idiot who spent two years writing a book and gave up trying to sell it after just a few months.

That's just not me.

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