I belong to a group of writers on Facebook. We write different genres and are at various stages in the process. Our common thread is the process of getting published. What is wonderful about this group is how we share each others highs and lows. There are lots of lows when in comes to attempting to get published. No one could do this without a great support group.
I am giving you an idea of how it feels to be an author in search of a publisher by posting this from Steve Grossman’s Facebook Page (with his permission). Steve is querying a magnificent story called Palimony, which can be Beta Read on Goodreads. It is a witty and humorous look at divorce and second loves. I ask as many of you as can to go to Goodreads and select this novel. It’s really good!
Now here is what being an author is really like; take it away Steve!
Trying to do the “debut author” thing is not for the impatient. Things happen at glacial speed. The writing takes forever, then you rewrite and edit to get ready for an actual editor to edit all the things you should have edited but didn’t. There is copy editing, content editing ,developmental editing. and picking an editor is like picking a spouse. Pick the wrong one and you are permanently screwed. Then there is the query. Think of packing for a ski trip using only a zip lock sandwich bag. Describe a book of 70-120K words in 300 words, 50 of which are blowing smoke up an agents ass about how they, and no one else are the perfect agent for you. Researching each agent is at least an hour a piece, and since your odds of getting a query letter returned is less than one in a hundred, you are gonna have to query lots of agents. I have done about two dozen and have had two request manuscripts. If I was a baseball player I would be sent to the minors or cut, but apparently I am doing pretty good author wise.
When you get a manuscript request its like getting a huge marlin on the line on a fishing trip. Except you don’t know if you reeled it in for about 6-8 weeks, and even if you do land an agent they in turn have to sell to a publisher which also takes time. If you have seen the movie “Sideways”, Miles got an agent but his book never found a publisher.
So anyway I have had a number of beta readers and am looking for more. I have had a professional first edit for content and got some good suggestions and had a good chemistry with the editor who seemed to get the humor and plot. She was a wise 60ish hippie who had seen a lot, a brash Texas woman who understood New Jersey sarcasm.
If you don’t like rejection, being a writer is not for you. Trust me career wise and personally I have known my share but people are passing judgment on something you have poured your soul into and send you a form letter if you are lucky saying, good luck but this piece of crap is not for me.
I had the good fortune to have two agents request a full manuscript. I intend to query at least 100 more perhaps 200. Perhaps I wont need to. But anyway I did get a note back from the first agent. Top west coast agency, lots of book to film deals, she is number two with thriller even though that is not my genre Here is the letter after six weeks.
Thanks so much for your patience as we considered the project. There was a lot to like here–we loved the concept and the dialogue is really quite good. But ultimately we found it isn’t quite ready for prime time. It has some pacing issues and at 439 pages, it’s just too long for a debut. Though working on pace will help cut those pages/word count.
So I wish you the very best of luck. This is a very subjective decision and another agent or editor could likely disagree with us.
OK…some nice stuff but still net result ZERO. After imagining who was going to play what character in the movie version it was pretty deflating. I thought problems she mentioned could have been fixed if she asked for a rewrite but what do I know.
To cheer me up a writer in my group said “Now you know why Hemingway spent so much time drinking at Sloppy Joes” to which I replied “Now I know why he took a gun and shot half his face off” to which she replied “OK so I guess Hemingway wasn’t the best example” “Not really”
As if by some cosmic coincidence I got a Review from a service called Readers Favorite, designed to give you a critique of your work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as important as an agent wanting your stuff but it gave me the fortitude to go on despite the odds. I know I have a lot of rejection ahead of me before pay dirt but this review helped me at least temporarily forget the agent rejection for a few milliseconds. I don’t know who this reviewer is, but I owe him big time for his sense of timing and impeccable taste in literature. If anyone wants to be a beta reader I can use all the eyeballs I can find.
Review #1: Review by Ray Simmons
Review Rating: 5 Stars – Reviewed By Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite
I was curious about Palimony by Steven Grossman. That’s the number one reason why I decided to read it. I was wondering how anyone could make divorce humorous. To be honest, I was skeptical as to whether it could be done or not. That was because I had never read anything by Steven Grossman. He has a unique touch when it comes to voice and tone. He is very easy to read. The words almost fly off the page, pushing you to read them faster and faster. I don’t think divorce is anybody’s favorite subject for a novel, but Steven Grossman handles this sensitive subject with the skill of a world class surgeon in an operating room. He is brilliant.
I would have to say, hands down, that the strongest feature of this novel is the writing. Sure, the characters are great. The plot is insanely good. Setting, and the other elements of a good novel are all done in a very satisfying manner because the writing propels them into the realm of excellence. He starts with a great idea. Two friends trying to trick their wives into paying less alimony and he turns it into a masterpiece with each sentence that he writes. Palimony is humor at the highest level. I loved the dialogue. I loved the irony and, most of all, I loved the writing. I think other readers will love it too. Especially those baby boomers who have gone through a divorce. And that’s a lot of people.
Thank you, Steve, for sharing your writers journey. Many of us share the road with you.