Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's Not a Science. It's Not Even an Art.

I've been doing a lot of whining lately.

It all  boils down to reading/thinking about, and obsessing too much over, How to Get Published.

See, there are so many helpful blogs and tweeters with advice about How to Succeed at Publishing.

But then, with every rejection, comes the repetition of the word "subjective" and fellow writers' suggestions to revise the pitch, query, or MS according to feedback.

Except...I don't have any feedback. I know that one reason for this is that no agent has time to give me any. And I get that, I really do. (Although, Saints Alive, it does happen - check out my CP Gina's post from today if you're looking for inspiration in that regard.) So I kind of flounder trying to figure out where the weaknesses in my writing are, what I can do to make a book Marketable.

(And when I do get feedback from every lovely person on things like my query, it seems to vary widely, even to conflict fundamentally. Because it's guessed it....SUBJECTIVE.)

See, when you move from being a writer to a writer with a goal of Getting Published, it's easy to start the planning, and the far-thinking, and the "research" that'll help you get there. And, at least for me, there's the sense that we're doing something wrong or right. We get the sense that there are rules to follow, things we can do to get our foot in the door or make the door slam in our faces.

But, after a certain point, (the point at which you're a decent writer and act relatively professionally) I don't really believe in those things anymore.

And how do you know if you're the exception to the rule?
Well, you don't. You can't.
So, as my CPs keep bucking up and reminding me on my endless whining email chains, I might as well keep trying. Keep writing each new book, without worrying about whether the concept is saleable or whether first or third person is more Marketable For YA or the word count is too high for the genre, or the trillions of other things that have been getting under my skin lately. And query my little heart out, the best I can, but don't take it too much to heart. Do my best, of course, but don't let it destroy my love of writing.

Besides, what else am I going to do? Watch TV? Knit? Cook? Clean?!?!?!
No effing way.


  1. Oh, I've been there. Publishing is a crazy business. Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone! (((hugs)))

    1. Yeah, we're all there, I think. Can't tell whether emailing about it makes it better or worse. ((((Hugs)))) back. And can't wait to read Grim! Hopefully this's been epic around here. <3

    2. You know, I think talking (emailing) about the ups and downs of this industry can really help, particularly when you need that extra pat on the back or a reminder that you're not banging your head against your laptop alone.

      And... eep! *trying hard not to be nervous*

  2. <3

    Writing and publishing is such a subjective business. Without personal feedback, you never know if you're being passed on due to writing skills or personal taste/the market's whims. All you can do as a writer is to keep writing.

    1. EXACTLY. (probably I could have just written that sentence instead of the whole durn post. :))

  3. It really is frustrating. Because we do our homework, we let other people rip our stories apart and call "boring" and "cliche" and "douchebag" on every other page. And then even when we think we've fixed all that, the rejections still come. Form R #11 for LYM arrived in my in box this morning, and I feel like I never should have bothered writing the story, as sad as that is.

    But then I remember last night's e-mail from the lovely Miss M., and at least I can have hope that subjectivity will swing the odds in our favor at least once, if we make enough attempts. Now, keeping our sanity while making those attempts... that's a different story!

  4. Subjectivity, you bitch!
    Yeah, it is all ridiculously subjective, which is why I guess the only thing to do is write write write. And if by writing we avoid cleaning, all the better. xo <3

  5. We're all in it together! Share the pain and collectively beat on the bitch that is subjectivity!

  6. "Never write a query letter in character voice?" I've never heard that anywhere. I've heard the opposite over and over, especially for YA, that they LOVE voice.
    Ever since I read Elana Johnson's: Writing a Query with voice I've seen people do her suggestion and go from no requests to full requests because the query with voice was more enticing.

    1. NO no no. "In voice" is different than "WITH voice." Of course we should write queries WITH voice - IN voice is like, "Hi, my name is Mary Sue. I was just an average girl living an average life, until this vampire fell in love with me...."

      Like that. :)

      And yeah - ElanaJ is my query guru, hands down. :)

      THANK YOU for the comment. :)

    2. Oh, haha. Yeah, I guess writing in first person like that might turn some agents off. Why do that when you can have the same voice just switching around the I's to she's?


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