Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Step Up Your Game

RAISING THE BAR

We keep hearing the agents and publishers out there are going through some hard times. As writers, we hear that with mixed reactions.

How can their hard times even compare with ours? All they have to do is pick something to publish. We have to write it.

They don't lock themselves up for days on end, fighting with words hour after hour, dragging characters and stories out of the keys in front of a glaring screen. They don't pour their hopes and dreams into a work they then send out for others to accept or dismiss as inspiration or hackneyed drivel.

All we want them to do is give us a chance. Look past the queries we sweat over because for some reason they're harder to write than a 13 volume epic. They're not as good as our novel. Just give us the benefit of the doubt.

We know there's more competition at every stage of the book business. There are fewer editors at fewer publishing houses acquiring fewer projects. Bookstores are ordering fewer books. The agents are getting more queries and submissions than ever before. It's tough out there, and it's not the time to complain.

Both the agents and publishers are on our side. Honestly. They can't do what they do without us. They want to see our submissions sparkling because right now they have to look for perfection.

It's time to step up our game! This means everything--our queries and our submissions need to be absolutely 110% perfect.

Then we need to understand the bar will never go back down. Yesterday's best writing isn't as good as today's. Tomorrow's writing has to be even better than today's. It's this way because there are so many writers out there trying to get the same contracts. Only the very best will stand out from the avalanche of material pouring in.

It's a good thing. Really.

I have to tell myself this. Stop fretting and put that hungry drive to work and write the best thing you've ever done. Then when you're finished.... do it again. Go for 120% perfect.

4 comments:

Jam said...

Oh, wow, that's a tall order right there. Good luck to you then. lol...if all authors wrote books that were perfect to 120%, I'd start having nightmares of books running after me begging to be read.

Deborah said...

Its a good goal....right? One can dream.

ali said...

What an awesome post Deborah ~ thank you! I agree . . . and after reading your post I feel like shouting "YEAH! I CAN DO THIS!!" Thanks for inspiring me.

I heard a Manic Bloom song I hadn't ever heard before on your playlist and it's awesome. So, thanks again!

L.T. Elliot said...

Excellent post, Deborah. How can it really hurt us to get better? I feel rejuvenated from this post. Thank you!