Seriously, though, writing, and especially fiction, is a lot like life…with both up’s and down’s. But this article is more about the “down’s,” so let’s look at that.
As an author, we’ve worked hard on creating our masterpiece. At least, I know I have, especially when I learned being talented was not enough. I read books on creating a Blockbuster novel, attend several fine writers’ conferences, where there were more good classes, about the entire spectrum of being an author, than I could possibly attend. I’d written four novels and was focused on getting my first, Trapped, as good as I could make it, and eventually published. I learned a lot about what makes good writing, and am amazed at how many people who strive to be authors just don’t do the work to develop their craft.
Anyhow, the only thing remotely “bad” about any of the above, was the time and effort it took to really polish my skills…and that really wasn’t so bad, after all. Some of the “bad” are things all authors experience…and have come to expect:
What’s really bad about rejection isn’t so much that this agent or that editor didn’t think your work was for them. It’s that you’ve slaved over the perfect query letter, after consuming a plethora of articles from those same agents/editors on how to do it right…how to create that compelling hook. And then you read their web site and write a personalized letter, showing them you know who they are and what they like. And then the rejection comes in your dutifully supplied SASE: “Dear Author (NOT personalized), Thanks for thinking of me. Unfortunately, this is not for us (Despite being right in the strike zone of what they say they love). Perhaps you will have better success with someone else.”
The frustration is that you went through a lot of effort to show them you MAY BE right for them, and they send the generic form letter. You know in your heart they probably never even looked at your submission. Agents admit they look for the tiniest things in the query to summarily reject you. Surely they are swamped with queries, but their cavalier dismissal of you treasure is very disheartening. How many great authors were nearly buried with rejections. Gresham, Louis L’amore (350 times – America’s premier western author, whom wrote classics, like “How the West was Won”, “Hondo,” & “Conager.”), and J.K. Rowlings are a few.
Another “bad” thing can be contests. Contests have great potential for the new author. I’ve entered several, and in fact my novel, Trapped, is published by TAG Publishers because I won their “Next Great American Novel” Contest. Trapped was also a finalist in the Florida Writers annual RPLA fiction contest, with over 300 entrants. And the “rub” here come from inconsistent judging. To qualify as a finalist in the RPLA, the novel has to receive a total of 80 or more points, out of a possible 100, based on two preliminary judges evaluation of 10 different criteria, 1 – 5 points for each. Trapped received a total of 48 from one judge and 46 from the other, both very complimentary of character development, scenes, and the 1st person POV throughout of my main character, Jackee. The latter was at the suggestion of Dee Burks, editor at TAG Publishers. Every chapter was from the POV of Jackee, and whatever happened away from her had to be learned by what she saw and what she heard.
Unfortunately, the finalist judge didn’t like all the things the two prelim judges loved, and he/she especially wanted scenes with the other characters’ POVs. So, of course, Trapped, did not win the RPLA in 2012. It’s interesting, however, that readers unanimously say they can’t put it down, and I attribute that partly to the 1st person POV. I’ve had two of my other novels also as finalists in the RPLA, with almost identical results. High marks in prelims, but the finalist judge going another way. That, as I like to say, is why they make “chocolate, vanilla and 39 other flavours.”
So, I guess the recap for “The bad side of being an author,” can be condensed into possibly one word: FRUSTRATION. Frustration with the entire judgement system that tends to keep new, very talented authors off the market.
Of course, now we have e-books, and anyone with a bit of computer skill can publish their tome. And unfortunately, self-published e-books (and print, as well, from all the POD companies, many of whom make their money mostly from the authors…not book sales) have come to be thought of as inferior… largely due to all those authors I mentioned earlier who aren’t willing to put in the work to become really good writers. There is, admittedly, a lot of junk out there. Hopefully, readers are able to sift out the nuggets and discard the chaff. That’s just one more potential frustration.
In spite of the above, I keep plugging. And it’s great to finally get the laudatory validation I’ve received for my work.
So maybe it’s all worth it, after all.
The darkness is still, silent. Jackee Maren’s heart pounds reverberating through her body as fear sears her veins. Someone’s coming. No way out. This time they will kill me. Her breath is short, her chest burns. Must run. Faster. Faster! Her eyes fly open, her heart still racing with blinding fear. Jackee breathes deeply with relief and stares at the ceiling desperately trying to calm herself. The same dream. Something, someone is watching . . . and waiting.
A tragic car accident leaves beautiful, vibrant Jackee Maren completely paralyzed, able to move only her eyes. Jackee’s husband, Phil, is devastated and her two young boys left with nothing but a shell for a mother, but still, Jackee senses the foreboding of an evil presence and knows time is short. Slowly, Jackee learns to communicate with her physical therapist, Kevin, by blinking her eyes. As evidence comes to light that her car accident was no accident, Jackee knows she must expose the person who wants her dead before they get a second chance. While Jackee works to put all the clues together, she discovers she has the ability to sense the thoughts of others, but she hides this talent from everyone but her sons, not knowing who she can trust. By actively exercising her new psychic ability, Jackee finally learns who masterminded the accident but feels helpless to stop them from trying to kill her again. Slowly a plan forms to not only ensure her boys are safe forever, but to exact revenge on her would-be murderer. Jackee vows not to rest until this killer understands what it is to be TRAPPED!
BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWHMGC-QHK8
I was born and raised in Chicago and its suburbs, living there until the age of 39. I’m now a retired corporate President, life-long fishing enthusiast, and a dedicated author. As is my nature, I’ve worked hard to improve my writing craft, and have produced 3 award-winnning novels, as finalist and/or winners of several large writing contests. I’ve also become a world-class fly-fisherman and am an expert in fly-fishing for pike & musky, and wrote a book on that, as well.
I now live in sunny Florida, and split my time between writing, fishing & fine cabinet making, but my greatest love is creating riviting fiction. TRAPPED is my first novel.