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firehorse
03-31-2005, 10:55 AM
Just a quick note (with more laments to come tomorrow). Had a meeting with a freelance book editor I respect immensely, and it went worse than I ever could've imagined (and I'm pretty good at conjuring up worst-cases scenarios). I got some good suggestions out of it, but she said she didn't know whether I should really bother revising it, except for personal purposes. Ouch.

I thought this was the best piece of writing I'd ever done. I've worked on it off and on for five years, and when I turned it in, I'd self-edited as far as i could possibly take it.

Her issue wasn't so much with the writing as with the content and structure.

I'm in that familiar pit of "What am I doing with my life?" Just totally dejected. http://pages.prodigy.net/rogerlori1/emoticons/disappointed.gif

If I sound self-pitying, it's because - just for the moment - I am. I know hers is just one opinion, but it's a pretty high-level opinion. I'll pick up; I'll move on, but this was the most commercial (and personal) project I had.

Thanks for listening... reading, as it were. It's 2:00 am, so there's nobody I can call.

--Please excuse the absence of the usually chipper Sarah; she has been temporarily replaced by her alter ego, the Giant Superego from the Black Lagoon--

Birol
03-31-2005, 11:01 AM
:Hug2:

Firehorse, have some Ben & Jerry's, curl up with your favorite movie, then get back out there.

If you feel this is the best writing you've ever done, then it probably is. If you feel it is good enough to put out there, then it probably is.

As for the high-level opinion, yes, she is an expert, but experts are people, they aren't always correct. Trust your gut and when you get up in the morning, dig in and go for it again.

MacAllister
03-31-2005, 11:02 AM
Ahh crap. I'm sorry, Sarah. It sucks.

However...you have a bunch of options, once you get ready to think about it.

And also, what's NEXT on your plate? If this is the best writing you've done, then the next piece should be that much better...

Chacounne
03-31-2005, 11:05 AM
I'm so sorry to hear that. Sigh! Your hurt is palpable and completely justified. Maybe putting it away for some time and starting a new project will help, even if it is just something small.

Hugs,
Chacounne

mdin
03-31-2005, 11:18 AM
You might want to go for a second opinion. You should never let one person's opinion tank an entire project, especially if you feel strongly about it.

But even more importantly, don't let that stop you from writing more.

dragonjax
03-31-2005, 03:49 PM
Firehorse, please don't let one freelance book editor -- who is neither an agent nor an acquisitions editor -- dictate what is marketable. Take the freelance editor's comments with a grain of salt, write a dead-on query letter, research agents in your genre, and query the heck out of your book. You have to be your own No. 1 fan -- and I beg you, don't let a freelance book editor crush your ambition. Only after you have 101 rejections from agents should you even consider moving on -- to publishers directly. And if you're not sure about how to write a killer query letter, you could post your letter here for review. There are plenty of excellent resources out there; I'm a fan of Camenson and Cook's Your Novel Proposal: From Creation to Contract.

Last thing I'm going to say: I do freelance editing, and I would never in a million years think of discouraging someone from at least trying to get published. (And believe me, I've read some pretty atrocious stuff.) You may have more work to do on your project -- possibly even a lot of work -- but you should still do everything you can to pursue your dream.

Okay, getting off of soapbox. And now I'm passing you a box of virtual chocolate, giving you a huge hug, and offering a shoulder to cry on.

Jakalyn
03-31-2005, 04:56 PM
Ouch!

That would sting.
I agree with everyone here though. Test it out on some other people after revising some (did she even give any suggestions for revisions?). Then send it, send it, send it.

Just like with readers--you can have one editor who doesn't like it and one who does.

Good luck with it.

Julie Worth
03-31-2005, 05:07 PM
Such a horrible person cannot be a good editor.

firehorse
03-31-2005, 06:45 PM
Thank you all for the support. Not having to face rejection alone makes me feel much better. I still feel lousy ;), but not as much as if I hadn't been able to post this.

The woman is a very high-level editor; she wasn't one of those "freelance book editors" you find (and I hope you run away from) on the Web. It was through a combination of grace and connections that I found her (that, and the secret knock). I guess there's nothing wrong with going for the best you can find/afford, but it was a bit like asking Manny Ramirez for batting advice. The scary part is that I think she was trying to be gentle (and she seemed like a very nice woman; nothing she said was hostile).

She did make some good points. I taped most of the conversation (till the digital recorder ran out), so tomorrow I'm going to listen through and write down what she said, whether I agree with it and if so, how to proceed. In a few cases, she mentioned edits that I thought I'd already done (but apparently I need to take them further); she gave me a couple of good ideas that I have no clue how to implement; and she made a couple of major re-framing suggestions, both of which make sense to me. Whether I want to do them or not (and how) is another question.

It hurt. It hurts a lot. I still think she's only one person, but aside from agents, she has her finger on the pulse of what's happening in the publishing world.

Today I'm on a different kind of deadline - I have to clean my apartment. So I'm going to do that, but I'll be back periodically. I think cleaning is good therapy anyway.

skc

awatkins
03-31-2005, 07:32 PM
:Hug2:

maestrowork
03-31-2005, 07:33 PM
:Hug2:

Good things will come to you, I can feel it!

I remember how much it hurt when I got my first "real" rejection after the agent requested the full ms. It built my character, let me tell you... so hang in there, we're here for you.

aka eraser
03-31-2005, 10:44 PM
Tough one Sarah. :(

Even good meals take a while to digest and that one was pretty darn unpalatable. In a day or three or nine, some of what she said might click and you'll have an "aha" moment. It's unfortunate she came to the conclusion she did but expert or not, she's fallible, and doesn't speak for the whole industry.

It's going to be impossible to not think of it as long as you're not engrossed in something else. So get engrossed in something! You can come clean my house when you're done with yours. Be prepared to budget a month though.

mommie4a
03-31-2005, 11:21 PM
So sorry to hear about the experience Sarah. From the sound of your last post, though, you're already figuring out what advice had merit, what didn't and what might be worth mulling over more.

I think sometimes the sadness, disappointment - whatever you want to call it - comes from knowing how much of ourselves and our time we've poured into a piece of work. And then, when you seek approval or even just input, you're never quite prepared for whatever rejection or negative sentiments might result from putting yourself out there.

I hate cleaning, but you're right-it's a great distraction. I love when everyone's out of the house and I can BLAST my music choice (as opposed to Raffi or Cheetah Girls).

For what it's worth (and there's definitely some question about that!), I'd put money on your Idol entry being one of the ten finalists, I actually don't feel as certain about more than a couple of others. (Everytime I think about the title of yours, I say to myself, that is SUCH a great title.)

If it were me, I'd be half way through a package of Oreos by now. And a bag of Cheetos. And the rest of my son's birthday cake. There's still some wine from last night...

Yum.

arrowqueen
04-01-2005, 02:35 AM
Don't let the bastards grind you down. I've had loads of rejections and then gone on to sell the pieces elsewhere.

Chocolate/wine/a spot of overindulgence/a quick sniffle - and then pick yourself up and start again.

Better luck next time,

aq

jdkiggins
04-01-2005, 02:52 AM
Sorry to hear that, Sarah. You keep writing, and if you think it's worth reworking, then do it. Remember that was one person's opinion.

Keep at it. :Hug2:

DeadlyAccurate
04-01-2005, 04:21 AM
...I'd put money on your Idol entry being one of the ten finalists...

Same here.

MacAllister
04-01-2005, 04:22 AM
And in the meantime, if you'd like to attend a naked drunken kegger to recover from the disappointment, I'm sure we can set something up on short notice.

firehorse
04-01-2005, 05:13 AM
And in the meantime, if you'd like to attend a naked drunken kegger to recover from the disappointment, I'm sure we can set something up on short notice. That sounds like a plan ;)

Thanks again to all of you for the support - I've re-read this thread several times today, and each time, I felt comforted. That goes a long way with me.

I also really appreciate the votes of confidence. Even if I don't make it into the final ten, the fact that some of you think I have a shot... that means a lot to me. Man, I need a thesaurus to come up with new ways to say "thank you." Unfortunately, all that comes to mind are "merci" and "danke." Note to self: learn gratitude in more languages.

In the next few days, I'll go over this woman's comments. A new friend of mine is an editor and I think she 'gets' me; I've asked if I could hire her to give it a read (I set aside a certain amount for editing). If I go forward with this (and I'm pretty sure I will), this second woman would be a good fit in helping me to incorporate the suggestions made by the first woman.

There's still that nagging voice in my head saying, "Nobody's interested in what you have to say." Amazing how my writing fears coincide so closely with my personal fears.

I promise that once I'm feeling better, I'll make a concerted effort to check in on this forum daily; the feelings still suck, but I'm able to work through them much faster with the support of this community.

On with the naked hot-tub kegger (Mac, you did mention a hot tub, right?)

-Sarah

MacAllister
04-01-2005, 05:17 AM
heh--of course! What good is drunken nudity without a hot tub?

This could get to be a fabulous rejection-cheer-up tradition.

On the other hand, I'd probably spend wayyyy too much time sending out inappropriate submissions, for the sake of the disappointment-party...

hmmm...

maestrowork
04-01-2005, 07:38 AM
Hot naked co-ed hot tub?


C'mon over to the Pad Your Rep thread....

Patricia
04-01-2005, 11:49 AM
Don't Stop! (of course you won't) Just one opinion. Sometimes, the higher they are the harsher they sound. :Hug2:

SRHowen
04-01-2005, 03:29 PM
It's too easy as an editor to see what doesn't work and to feel the frustration. But I do this all the time one author says, and no ones said anything. Or you've read one too many very very bad pieces of writing that day--something riddled with POV switches, say.

You then get to the next one and there it is: a single lonely POV switch, not even really a switch--a slip, a simple mistake.

BUT---you have had it! You can see what's wrong, you know how to follow the rules, you do things the right way, what is wrong with these people? Don't they want to get published?

Then you fire off a nasty letter--this is trash, don't bother with it. (nice words of course or maybe not so nice)(depends on if the chug you just took outa the milk carton was sour or not)

My point--some days even editors, even high ranking ones have a bad day, or something small that is their pet peeve cropped up in the writing.

Get a second opinion. But even if this one work isn't up to par--go on to the next. What was said about what didn't work will be there in the back of your mind, and I bet, even if you think you didn't, that you learned something and the next one will be better for it.

Shawn

firehorse
04-01-2005, 07:06 PM
What was said about what didn't work will be there in the back of your mind, and I bet, even if you think you didn't, that you learned something and the next one will be better for it.
She made a number of excellent suggestions, ones that I will try to incorporate. Her problem with the story was, to put it bluntly, "Who cares?" (from a marketing perspective). Once I began re-listening to the tape, I realized there were some compliments about my writing, mostly in the form of "X wasn't a problem, and you handled Y well..."

I want to keep going with this, but maybe I should switch to one of my other projects (which are ideas and a few chapters, respectively) for a little while. Just to change my mindset.

skc

Jamesaritchie
04-01-2005, 11:24 PM
Just a quick note (with more laments to come tomorrow). Had a meeting with a freelance book editor I respect immensely, and it went worse than I ever could've imagined (and I'm pretty good at conjuring up worst-cases scenarios). I got some good suggestions out of it, but she said she didn't know whether I should really bother revising it, except for personal purposes. Ouch.

I thought this was the best piece of writing I'd ever done. I've worked on it off and on for five years, and when I turned it in, I'd self-edited as far as i could possibly take it.

Her issue wasn't so much with the writing as with the content and structure.

I'm in that familiar pit of "What am I doing with my life?" Just totally dejected. http://pages.prodigy.net/rogerlori1/emoticons/disappointed.gif

If I sound self-pitying, it's because - just for the moment - I am. I know hers is just one opinion, but it's a pretty high-level opinion. I'll pick up; I'll move on, but this was the most commercial (and personal) project I had.

Thanks for listening... reading, as it were. It's 2:00 am, so there's nobody I can call.

--Please excuse the absence of the usually chipper Sarah; she has been temporarily replaced by her alter ego, the Giant Superego from the Black Lagoon--

First, I don't think it ever really pays to go with a freelance book editor. I don't care who the freelance editor is, there's no way on earth of knowing whether or not they're right or wrong, and the very best of them can be absolutely dead wrong. If they can't write you a check, they're opinion simply doesn't matter, and at the very best, their opinions will always be only their opinions.

Some extremely good books have been rejected by multiple editors, have been called crap by multiple editors. And by very good multiple editors, at that.No matter who this freelance book editor is, I can guarantee she only knows what she finds acceptable in structure and content. She does not know what other editors find acceptable in stucture and content.

Now, a good rule for getting published.

1. If an editor says your book is lousy, and she's right in her opinion, then find an editor who's wrong about the book.

2. If an editor says your book is lousy, and she's wrong in her opinion, then find an editor who's right about the book.

3. If an editor says anything about your book, but can't write you a check, it doesn't matter what her opinion is.

Freelance book editors are fine for correcting grammar, but when it's comes to an opinion about whether or not a book is puboishable, the best of them simply have no clue because every editor has his or her own taste and judgement about what is and isn't publishable.

MacAllister
04-01-2005, 11:29 PM
James Ritchie has that dead to rights, Sarah. Maybe a beta-reader or two, then stop wringing your hands and start shopping the thing around to agents/publishers.

And get going on the novel in the meantime. :)

aka eraser
04-01-2005, 11:47 PM
Hear-hear!

Save your $ for postage to agents/pubs.