Monday, April 5, 2010

Damage Control

Just so we're clear on this, I stand behind my judges' 100%. As the writers noticed from the comments, the opinions about the stories varied. What that means is that there is no 'universal reader.' Writers have to target their market and the only way to do that is to understand who reads your genre.

While I liked something about each story, I didn't like each story equally and if they had been part of a novel, I would not have bought some of them. All that means is I was not the target audience for some works. No big deal.

In the real world of publishing this post wouldn't have been written. This industry does not apologize. Usually, it does not explain. The judges' comments were blunt at times, both positive and not so positive. Most times to get that kind of feedback there is a fee. My judges were dead on about where the stories needed improving. Use that info to your benefit. This is not a touchy feely industry, so get over it and move on.

I understand that artists, especially writers, are sensitive souls. That is exactly why I did not say what I didn't like. However, let me make perfectly clear that unless your mother or lover works for a literary agent, you will not get big hugs over every word put to ink. This is a business. Agents are looking for works that will sell and that are as close to "ready to go" as possible. Fixing mss takes time and time is money. Fix it before you submit it.

Agents understand that acquisition editors do not want [or have the time for] mss that need a lot of rewrites. It ain't happening. Certainly it won't be happening in this economy. So take the comments about the lacking dialogue (stilted, clich├ęs, strange tags), unemotional characters, and grammar errors and use them to improve so you can compete with an edge others don't have.

Seriously, rejections hurt. Most rejection letters do not say why, or might say "Not for us," which tells you a whole lot of nothing. I've said before, so far I've had 216 rejection letters in my career. You can only lick your wounds so long then get to work to be an awesome writer.

I'm not writing this to any one person. Even people who did not enter, for whatever reason, need to know that this is a very serious industry and if you want to be part of it, grow up and act like it. Believe in your skills and craft. Write your best works. Keep in mind, no matter what else happens, I love you guys.


  1. Nadine, thanks for sending my my critique from the judges. Judges, thanks for taking the time to read and comment upon my work.

    I loved that I got mixed views, it shows that one has to target the correct genre reader/agent.

  2. Sorry, Easter my critique = sending my...*blush* but at least I proofread for boo boos this time! LOL

  3. Hello Glynis. I think when querying lit agents it will be much easier to know your audience. I purposefully had a wide mix of judges, both in background and country. I know not everyone is targeting the American market, so I didn't use a very narrow 'genre' of judges.

    I'm glad you participated and the comments were useful to you.

  4. What you say Nadine is absolutely correct. Writers forget that they are merchandise and no one wants to invest if they aren't going to make money.
    I've had a lot of rejection letters, strangely enough many of them helpful and friendly, not just the 'don't give up the day job' type.

  5. Nadine - what you've done with this simple competition is really show people (and I don't mean the entrants) what's involved in submitting work. It's tough out there!

  6. That was the point, Anonymous, to resemble the industry. There is no second place with agents.

    Have a good day all.