January 10, 2011

Handing it over

        As many of you know, I spent the month of November participating in WNFIN and completed Part One of my book. Recently I sent that work out to some beta readers for feedback. Which is scary. And, makes this whole book-writing thing very, very real.
        Of course, I have only been telling everyone I come into contact with I am writing this book. I have a website promoting it. I blog about it regularly. I spent a great deal of time putting together a book proposal. I have shared excerpts with my critique group for feedback. And, I have been querying literary agents since April in hopes of getting it published.
        But this? This is different. Now there are people reading it. It is not unlike giving birth to a child and then handing it over to someone to evaluate your success as a child bearer. This book is my baby. I conceived it, I labored to write it and now in many ways its future lies in the hands of others.
          In case you are not in the know, a "beta reader" is someone who reviews a piece with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release. I selected readers who are members of my target audience and writers themselves. I asked them for specific feedback as well as an overall reaction and detailed edit.
          It's not that I worry they will hate it. I would be surprised if that was their reaction. What I'm dying to know is how much more work they think it needs. I know it is not perfect, but how close is it? Or how far? I think seeing their emails in my inbox will make my heart skip a beat even more than a response from a literary agent.
          Speaking of literary agents, I received a rejection last week from an agent who had requested my book proposal back in August. I had followed up with her several times, and she finally responded that she had read it. Her rejection was lengthy, complimentary and very encouraging. She said she just didn't love it enough to represent it.
          And that is what it boils down to. Writers hoping to be published have to find someone as passionate about their work as they are to represent them. My response to the rejection was to send a whole new batch of queries out. So the search will continue. Trust me, I'm not about to give up now!
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