What I didn't expect was the feedback I received from professionals in the publishing community. People who do this for a living. People who don't have to be nice to me. People who don't even have to talk to me. But they did, and their words fill my head like a comet - I stretch my neck, look up to the heavens and have to ask "did that really just happen?"
Earlier this week I was feeling down in the dumps, but thanks to some folks who have been doing this for a while, I perked right back up and set my gaze skyward again (see previous post). A lot of it has to do with some amazing, generous, talented folks out their on the web. Here's a few of my favorites, and how they helped:
Janet Reid: For those of you who don't know, Janet is the always honest, sometimes painful and mostly humorous Query Shark. A highly sought after agent and advisor, she gives a lot of her time back to those of us still trying to find our way to publication. If you haven't followed her blog or tweets, you're missing out. I had the opportunity to exchange a few emails with Janet, and though she wasn't quite interested in my novel, she loved the bio I included in my query. I had struggled with that part and reading her comments made my day!
Query Tracker: Even if you don't pay for a subscription to this amazingly helpful submittal tool, the blog is worth reading on a frequent basis. The shortcut to "Essential QT Blog Posts" is a must - filled with helpful resources for any writer. Some of the recent posts I found especially helpful were:
- No Excuses - A post about pushing yourself past that inevitable absence of the muse. You know, that time when, half way through your WIP the entire story falls flat and you don't write anything for days on end?
- The Heroic Journey of Every Writer - This is actually Part I of a two part post dealing with the journey that finally makes us stick our butts in a chair and start writing and the power we gain from each rejection we receive, if we are only willing to listen to the unspoken AND spoken words of criticism. This was an extremely powerful discussion for me, reminding me why I was writing in the first place, and making me address the real reasons I kept writing.
The Other Side of the Story: Janice Hardy's blog has a wealth of information, nicely titled and organized on the left side of the page. Well written, well structured, plenty of guest posts and full of information from planning your novel to selling and marketing, Janice does an amazing job helping the other 99% - you know? Those of us still trying to figure it out? Yesterday's post included her establishment of a Yahoo Group to help us find Critique Partners - those necessary and highly elusive helpers we all struggle to catch. Thanks Janice!
Twitter: Okay, okay - I know what your thinking: How can twitter help me stay focused, improve my writing and better my spirits? Here's how: writers write (usually) in solitude. Humans are social creatures. Twitter allows you to combine the two.
Wait - there's more! Do you check the Profile Summary of someone who's tweets you read? Usually it identifies their web or blog site. Do you go there? You should. How do you think I "met" Justine Dell the other day? How do you think I chatted via email with Janet Reid? You don't really think they happened across my meagerly tweets or blog and decided to come calling, do you?
Reach out. Explore. Research. Would you prefer typing words to reading them? Sure, most of us would. But the reading will help. Really. How else would you know what to put on the page?