Reaching out often leads to help

Today I reached out to someone. A recently published author, whose book I found after googling “LGBT” and “Theatre” in Good Reads. I do this every so often, so my book is about those two things, and I was scared when a plot similar to mine showed up. I read the sample chapter, and I was worried, because the description mentioned theatre, but the sample chapters didn’t seem to show much of it. Thankfully, the story was good, so I bought the ebook, and I was so engaged, I finished it in 24 hours.

The great news was, my book and this book, had very little cross over. And where the cross over was, it was really a delight. In many ways my characters were similar, and yet in no way were they the same. Inspired by the authors work, I reached out, and was shocked when 15 minutes after I sent the e-mail I had a reply. I had asked if the author would take questions, and they said yes. I sent the author a long list of questions I had, about the book, about the way it was picked up, and was amazed that I received a reply an hour later.

One thing the author said to me was:

“I think it may be time for you to start querying that novel.”

While my manuscript still needs at least one full round of editing, it did make me think that maybe I was going about editing in a slightly too OCD fashion. I keep looking at my manuscript, and trying to make each page an essential pageturner. While this is what I should want, it is also making me lose sight of what my book was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a good book, that would potentially sell a little, and help me while I dealt with the terrible economy. I told myself every time I sat down to write, that I wasn’t writing the next masterpiece, I was just writing an engaging story, that said something I wanted to say. In editing, I think I lost sight of that goal.

My manuscript needs to be in as good a shape as I can get it in, but it will never be perfect. I don’t think I was shooting for perfection, but I also have less faith in my editing skills, than I do my initial drafting/idea skills. If I edit something, I think there is an expectation that after editing, it will be as close to perfect as I can make it. I live in fear of sending out edited drafts, and people looking at it, and then wondering why they bothered to be a beta reader for me. I often wonder if I am better at explaining/hyping my novel, than I am at writing/editing it.

Reaching out to someone who has published with success is always nerve wracking for me. I strive hard to tell them I am a fan, that I want to be in the club, but that I have reservations/doubts as well as questions about how to get there. Out of the three times I’ve reached out, 2 out of 3 authors have responded to me with open arms, and for that I am truly grateful. If ever I am able to make it to the club of published authors, I hope I’ll be able to pay back the favor be encouraging new talent that reach out to me.

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