Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Putting It All Out There

My first novel is nearly done. By done, I mean that every bit of it has now been through at least four rounds of edits, by both me and others, and that 24 chapters of it has been through six rounds of edits. By the time the last eight get there, every word will have been studied by four people.

Two weeks ago, I made the very hard decision to request test-readers. I belong to a couple writing groups on facebook, and made a request in one of them. I am blessed to have found five more people willing to read my book and tell me their thoughts on it. Not to edit anything, but just to give me an opinion on plot, character development, etc. I don't know if I'm hoping they all love it, or hoping they all hate it.

I mean, of course, I want people to like what I write. The scary thing is that if they like it, I have no more excuses. I can't put it through one more round of edits, because that would be overkill, and it's been edited pretty extensively. Here's how that has worked: I went through the entire novel twice, then Adrian went through each chapter. As she returned them, I went through and reviewed the comments she made, made changes and completed another run through. I then sent that chapter to either Amy or Di, who did the same thing, then sent it to the other, then sent it back to me. So, by the end of the process, I had corrected the piece 2-3 times and had three other people critique me. Di has also been amazingly willing to look at larger chunks for continuity and such, and once returned 13 chapters to me with nearly 500 comments. Talk about daunting! So, no more edits for this girl.

That means no more excuses. I have no reason not to start writing query letters and synopses. In fact, as I write this, I got an email from one of those wonderful people reading my book. Here's a brief blurb:

            I had planned to read fast and skim when it got slow. And it never got slow! You kept my         complete attention through the entire thing, and it never hit a spot where I wanted to jump ahead. I loved the story, and you did a great job of ending it well.

On one hand, I want to cry because I have poured my heart and soul into this, and to get responses where people liked what I read is almost overwhelming. Only, I'm not sure if the prospect of submitting to agents and publishers, who will MAYBE spend thirty seconds looking at my stuff, for an opinion on whether or not I have anything worth putting out there.

Any advice from you already published authors? How did you get through the submission part? Any advice for someone testing the waters?

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