Monday, May 19, 2014

Agency Lessons: Objectivity in a subjective world

Before we get started with today's post, I have to share a bit of what I've been working on this past week. I'm not quite ready to release all the details yet, but I will say this. If you enjoyed my DIY Blog Tour series last year, you are going to love what I have in store for you this summer. Is that enough of a tease for you?
I have a great book, but no agent will represent it.

My book has been edited to perfection, but no publishers want it.

My book has everything readers want, but no readers will buy it.

These are statements I hear on a nearly daily basis. The questions come from an honest place. Writers who have poured their hearts into a book, sometimes laboring on it for years. And yet, there is sits, seemingly destined to rust away on a hard drive or in Amazon obscurity.

The problem here is you are trying to apply objective values (clean editing, strong plot, well developed characters) to a subjective response (enjoying the story). You might as well ask a random group of people how they feel about Cohen brother movies. Half will tell you they're genius while the other half will bemoan their complete lack of value. 

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a perfect story.



So what does that mean for you?

First, it means you need to be completely honest with yourself when it comes to your own work. It really isn't good enough to like it. They are your characters, your world, your words. If you don't love it with a white hot fiery passion, then how can you expect anyone else to care?

Second, in the immortal words of Adele Dazeem, "Let it Go!"

If you truly love your work, then you have to come to terms with the fact that there will be others who don't like it, maybe even hate it. That means you might never find an agent for that manuscript. If it's already published, you might never find readers who love it. It may need to be good enough for you that you love it.

Writing, and really any art, is not an easy business. It comes with a lot of rejection and plenty of people who will tell you that you aren't good enough. As an author you need to tell yourself that you're good enough. You need to look at your work and know in your heart that it's amazing. If you can't do that, you need to keep working on your craft until you can. 

You can't wait for the world to tell you it's perfect, because it never will. And that's okay.



9 comments:

  1. I completely agree. That is why it's so difficult to "break in" to the business. You're relying on people's taste, people whom you never met. Everybody looks for some sort of standard by which they can judge their work. Unfortunately, the industry, like taste, can be a fickle thing. To be a writer, you need to practice the art of surfing - you need to be out in the water to catch the wave at the right moment.

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    1. What a great analogy. I might have to write a post about that. Also, when I first read your comment I thought it said writers need to practice the art of suffering. Not the same thing. :)

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    2. It wouldn't hurt to practice that (suffering) as well.

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  2. I commented but not sure what happened to it. So I'm testing this one.

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  3. oh, darn my last comment was lost somehow.

    I will have to check out your DIY blog tour series to see what that's all about. I've found a lot of really great stuff on your blog already. :)

    I totally agree. I love my book but not everyone does and I have to remind myself that I don't like everything I read, or order at the restaurant, or buy, etc. :) And Scott, your last name is the first name of the MC in my current wip. :) I couldn't help noticing that.

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    1. The DIY blog tour series ran the entire month of November 2013. You can still find all the posts in the archive. Glad to hear you're finding some useful tidbits in here. :)

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  4. Yeah, I agree. I've put the disappointments of my first pubbed book to rest and am banging out a new one. Wish me luck! :)

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  5. I will have to check out your DIY blog tour series to see what that's all about peluang usaha kecil sampingan . I've found a lot of really great stuff on your blog already

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