We write, we seek critiques, we edit, we seek critiques, we rewrite, we seek critiques, we edit …
It’s a circle every writer spins around and around inside of, like an outta control hamster in a runaway wheel. But then we slow down. Why? Because the standard of our work has reached a level we’re as happy with as we can be. So what next? Agent submitting, publisher submitting, magazine submitting? It all depends on the hopes you have for your masterpiece.
I’ve been down every one of those avenues. And been rejected. Most rejections arrive in the form of “No thanks”, some are more words to say the same. On occasion, you may be lucky enough to receive feedback on your submission. I am one of those lucky ones.
I submitted a novel to an agent earlier this year. The guy was unable to take me on, but thought my work warranted more than the simple “No thanks” so many allow as their standard response. He emailed to request a phone number and called me up. His words of encouragement gave me a boost. He saw merit in my work, enjoyed my story, and wanted to give me advice to improve my chances of acquiring an agent. So, I was like, “Sure”. I’d have been an idiot not to listen. We aspiring writers need all the help and advice we can get.
Other than telling me my writing could be tighter, and the word count could be axed by about 20k, he told me I needed to concentrate on building a writer profile.
“How?” you ask. I’ll pass on his advice.
1) Get yourself a reader base. Get your writing out there. Build a following of your work.
2) Get feedback, and LISTEN TO IT. He advised me that joining review/writing/critiquing sites was crucial to an aspiring writer. I was already a member of a couple at the time of the call, and it felt good to be able to tell him so.
3) Enter competitions. Not one, or two, the odd couple. As many as you can. A position in a writing competition will earn you the chance to be noticed. There are 100’s of writing comps about, probably 1000’s. Will winning one of them, or coming second or third improve your chances? I didn’t know for sure until a writer friend of mine attended a writing conference a few weeks back. She’d entered a competition this year and was awarded third place, which was excellent. When she went to the writer conference, she went armed with plugs for her novel, ready to yacker on to any and all agents/publishers who would listen. The moment they discovered she’d come third in a writing competition, she had their attention. Seriously. She had invites to send her completed novel ms from a couple of agents, and one even asked her to turn her competition flash fiction piece into a novel for his consideration. That’s some decent attention from where I’m sitting. Having scoured the internet constantly for competitions to enter for either my novels, or my shorter works, I was ecstaticly happy to be pointed in the direction of an absolute beauty; below is the link for it:
A competition which is aimed at the exact genre I prefer to write in is a gem of a find. For all Paranormal or Urban Fantasy Romance Novel writers, this is a must-enter comp. I highly recommend it. If I find any more, I will come back and add them. Feel free to add any of your own.