Publishing journey self-talk

I received comments back from an editor who placed me first in a contest. Despite overwhelmingly positive feedback, the response is threatening to throw me into a tail spin.

Without going into gory details, I must reaffirm:

  • I knew this was going to be hard when I started
  • I couldn’t have written these stories in any other place, they are what they are
  • It’d be this hard no matter what
  • The real reason is that the writing’s not good enough yet (believe it or not, this is here to cheer me up)

No Comments

  1. Victoria Dixon
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 06:21:27

    Geez! She or the contest readers gave you overwhelmingly positive feedback, but threw you into a tail spin? What do they want you to do? Restructure the story?

  2. Jeannie
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 08:53:28

    Suggestions about restructuring the story would be a welcome change! Restructuring means the story has at least a snowball’s chance. 🙂

    Which is why I tell myself, it’s the writing. We can all become better writers.

  3. Victoria Janssen
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 09:47:29

    Hmmm. What I do is try to distract myself from the comments for several days before I start thinking what I might do differently and what I refuse to change in the project; but also what I might do for my NEXT project, that might be more salable.

    Also…publishing is a crapshoot. Something that absolutely won’t sell one year might be the Hot Thing the next, or ten years down the road. And no-one, including editors, knows what the Hot Thing will be. The thing I try to remember is that my writing is not necessarily at fault when something won’t sell. (Go browse in a bookstore and see how many books you can find that are more poorly-written than yours, but still sold.) There are many additional factors beyond the writer’s control; like weather, you can make predictions, but the reality might still turn out completely differently than expected. That’s why I think a large portion of writing for publication is comprised of keeping yourself psyched into it!

    *cues choir to finish off preaching*

  4. Kristi
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 10:06:18

    Your stories are definitely set where they should be. And I’m not a market expert, but I do believe that yours will sell if someone puts them on a shelf. There are far too many regency romances out there diluting the historical market, IMHO 🙂

    Yep, this is hard. I’m feeling it too and I’m nowhwere near as close to publication as you. Kidn of like exercise, or dieting, its a good kind of work, I think. When you’re done, you have something worth showing off. Actually, you get something worth showing off at all stages, not just at “done” (because, when are things ever “done”–when they’re sitting in the bookstore? I’m sure there will be revisions you wish you’d have made even then…)

  5. Jeannie
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 10:26:34

    Victoria J. – You are definitely one of the authors who lives the credo of “write what you love” and let the rest work itself out around you. So your words are big boost.

    Kristi – Scifi romance also gets the short end of the stick, but the sci-fi fan base is huge. I can totally see this genre taking off.

    Fifteen years ago, if someone had told me shape shifters, demon slayers and vamps would take over romance, I wouldn’t have believed it. So maybe 15 years from now, medieval China baby!…I’ll be nearing 50. 🙂

  6. Dara
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 10:56:29

    I was just going to echo Victoria J’s comment. Write what you love! And I also believe that the market is oversaturated with Regency romance. There needs to be a different setting! Perhaps it’s my love for different cultures, but I’m dying for something set in Asia.

    Just keep going–someone will see the merit of your novel and see the promise of a new market!

  7. Jeannie
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 11:35:07

    Thanks for the words of encouragement!

    Really, I’m trying not to be a sourpuss. The editor gave me lovely, lovely comments. Just held back on the loveliest comment of all – “I want to buy this”

  8. Caryn Caldwell
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 12:07:10

    Oh, that really stinks. Still, your writing must have a ton of promise or you never would have come in first. That’s a pretty big deal! Anyway, even if this one isn’t fashionable right now maybe it’ll sell later, when publishers are more willing to take chances.

  9. Jax Cassidy
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 18:32:50

    Just remember every editor will have a different comment so it’s really going to be up to you and the editor you will eventually work with. After all, those are just suggestions so don’t work yourself up. The important part comes when edits are made by the publisher you will eventually sell to 🙂

  10. Victoria Dixon
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 23:00:04

    Seriously – take heart in those lovely comments! Not everyone wants to read this sort of thing, but lots of folks do. Obviously I have reason to hope the China baby takes off, but if you look at the collection I’ve gathered on my blog concerning caucasian authors of Asian-setting books, I think the plane is either already fueled and on the runway, or it’s in the air without the traffic controller’s permission!

  11. Jeannie
    Jul 09, 2009 @ 16:36:59

    See, I knew I would feel better after posting.

    Thanks guys!

  12. Jayda
    Jul 11, 2009 @ 08:56:08

    I think I understand your reaction. I felt somewhat discouraged, after I got back the contest judge sheets from a competition I entered. I used the criticism to restructure the story and now have an editor interested in the project. The constant editing can get tiresome, but is rewarding in the end.

  13. Jeannie
    Jul 11, 2009 @ 18:14:53

    Hi Jayda! Welcome.
    I actually love getting comments I can use from contests and pretty much from anyone else who will give them. Edits can definitely be a pain, but I always love the story a little bit more after each one.