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The Next Circle of Hell, Vol. 2

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Harlequin

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Scary wicket, it is definitely not you. Agents work for authors and they should at a minimum be responsive and attentive. Even if you don't sell quickly. Or at all. There's always the next book. But it is so disheartening when they behave that way.

Twitter is pretty cliquey but I enjoy the bloggers and reviewers and booksellers on it, more than other writers these days. I get frustrated with the complete fecking lack of nuance everywhere.
 

Fuchsia Groan

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I agree with everyone else, Scary Wicket. After six months, it just makes sense to do a polite check-in. This might not be the right agent for you, but you need closure on this book. As for the notion that you haven’t done your “job” because you don’t have a new ms. yet—I don’t see it that way. I think agents know enough to value quality over quantity. If you take the time to polish the book and get feedback and so forth, that just makes the book a better submission prospect for the agent.

Taking time isn’t a bad thing, unless you’re an already-established author with fans clamoring for more. You want your debut to be the best it can be—for practical as well as artistic reasons—and the agent should feel the same.

That’s great news, Litdawg! I’m so glad the expansion paid off.

I feel you on the cliquiness, Raggy. I should focus on boosting others’ work, but I’ve reached this point where I’m afraid of boosting the “wrong” person (someone who suddenly does something unacceptable) and being ostracized. I know that’s unlikely, but just thinking about it (and all the other incredibly complex Twitter etiquette that people fixate on) makes me anxious and frustrated. So I just post my news and occasionally reply to people at this point. But really, I should boost more.
 

RaggyCat

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I'm glad it's not just me who finds Twitter authors cliquey (I am aware of the irony of discussing this on AW with a bunch of fellow authors...). I have to say, I've found bloggers very friendly on the whole. They genuinely just want to celebrate and talk books and that's rather lovely! Whenever I've interacted with booksellers (mostly IRL though) I've found them great and very passionate, too.

I think I'm just going to stop interacting with those authors I've been boosting who've basically ignored me. It's affecting me negatively so time to move on. I think one of the reasons it's also been getting under my skin as it has strong playground vibes, and takes me back to unpleasant school experiences of being left out I'd rather not revisit!

I can absolutely where your fear comes from, Fuchsia. YA Twitter is particularly harsh here. It sounds ridiculous to even be thinking abot this but sadly it's a reality.

Has anyone ever participated in a Twitter chat? I see these going on but I've been too shy to join in so far.
 

RaggyCat

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BTW - I did think I'd followed those of you in this thread on Twitter, but that was a while ago, so if I missed you, please give me a shout!
 

litdawg

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Raggy--had no idea you'd followed me on Twitter! Just followed your link in your bio here for the followback.

Twitter is a space that foregrounds my many often discordant identities. More than half of the people I follow are academics with research interests akin to mine. We trade posts about texts we're teaching, complaints about university policies, and general intellectual snark. It's purely professional-social and nothing that any of us needs or wants for platform. About 1/4 of my following/followers are veterans/military members, most with a literary bent. These posts usually have to do with current events related to national security, military, intel, and war lit. There are a few heavy-hitters in this group with large followings and national book awards, but between ourselves, it's just Phil, Matt, and Lisa. The remainder of the people I follow are agents and SFF writers, most of whom I've met through workshops, AW, or critique groups. I follow a handful of successful writers out of curiosity.

Back when I thought I might be able to build a platform on Twitter, I added hashtags to posts I'd make about creative writing. I think those netted me a few followers, but I honestly don't enjoy asymmetry in following/follower so I stopped using hashtags. I don't have a lot of time on Twitter, and my academic day job eats up most of my interests online, followed by NatSec/veteran issues. Sadly, my life priorities are the same--day job, weekend/evening job, family, writing, almost always in that order.

I'm pretty happy when I'm on twitter because I'm just playing, wasting time, connecting with "friends." Imagine me with a tumbler of scotch one-handedly liking posts but usually too committed to my next sip to put the tumbler down and type out a reply.
 
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litdawg

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I think I'm just going to stop interacting with those authors I've been boosting who've basically ignored me. It's affecting me negatively so time to move on. I think one of the reasons it's also been getting under my skin as it has strong playground vibes, and takes me back to unpleasant school experiences of being left out I'd rather not revisit!
This seems very sensible. Social reciprocity is a good indicator of character. I get that the twitterverse creates social situations where asymmetries of following/follower get in the way of egalitarian reciprocity, but maybe that means some people have just gotten too big for their britches, as we'd say in the States.

As a teacher, I used to [well, sometimes still do] get depressed about not reaching certain students. Their lack of enthusiasm for what I was pouring my heart into caught my eye more than the rest of the room that was engaged. Bitterness crept into my occasional remarks about attentiveness. Then I read a book that said it was essential for teachers to focus on the bright spots so as not to get consumed by darkness. I've thought about that a lot in many areas of life. Focusing on bright spots keeps me more joyful and passionate in the classroom. Ultimately, that increases the odds of bringing struggling or disengaged students off the sidelines more than my tendency to fixate on them. I'm also just happier.

Are there bright spots on social media for those of you using it primarily for platform?
 

Woollybear

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The bright spots are feeling a real connection with a stranger over something meaningful and human, which happens. I'm thinking of shared loss or struggle. Also when a stranger says something nice about your book! That's happened maybe three times and even the memory of it makes me grin like an idiot. :)

The dark spots are the mindless bickering and manipulation.

In my experience reciprocity comes and goes, in both directions, in part because it is really hard (for me) to keep up with more than, say, five or ten accounts. Twenty, max. On some days I'll actively dig up mutuals I haven't heard from in a while to like something of theirs, simply because the algorithm (or random chance?) stopped shooting our tweets to one another.

Sometimes silence is innocent, I think.
 

aceafer

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In terms of making connections with other authors, I find that building those relationships has moved to more private channels such as Slack and Discord. I'm in a horror authors Slack (which to be fair, is basically dead now at this point) and a larger author Discord, and I find it much more active and friendly.

I think Twitter is more for established relationships at this point and people seem to be using it more as a marketing tool or to talk to people they already know, but I do find Discord to have a lot more friendliness and open-ness - maybe because it's private, so useless for marketing, and the only real goal of it is conversation?

Either way, I haven't exactly made fast friends - honestly, I still find AW to be the most useful resource - but I definitely find it to be more open and much less clique-ish than Twitter. I've heard FB groups as well (like the debuts one!) are really useful, but as I'm not even on submission yet, I don't think there are any particular relevant ones for me!
 

Elle.

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Feels like so far I've had a different experience on Twitter, maybe I've been very lucky. I've started to follow quite a few authors since I got my deal last year, and so far everybody has been very nice and supportive. Plus I'm also lucky to be part of a very supportive Debut group.

Booksellers and reviewers have been brilliant too and same with people at other publishers as well.

Litdawg - I've found your twitter handle via your website and I'm following you now.
 
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scarywicket

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thanks litdawg, raggycat, harlequin, and fuschia for the support. i wonder if the unspoken dynamics I’ve felt yoked to here are intensified in YA, where a lot of aspiring writers are young and/or relatively inexperienced (no judgement, i am too) and looking for mentorship/validation moreso than a colleague, let alone someone who as harlequin says, works for you. it’s unnerving to realize how much this has been normalized for me. i think i’m going to sleep on this for a few days until i feel steadier about it and can send an email (and handle any responses) with a clear heart and head. i will report back when/if i hear more!

the lack of reciprocation on social media is real. even at my level—unpublished, mainly making friends with other unpublished and early career writers in my genre—i often realize a few months into a friendship that i’m the only one reaching out. in our conversations we only ever talk about them and their life and their work, and there’s little to no interest in me and mine. this realization often comes as they find their own success or even just make more successful friends, which adds some sting to the whole endeavor. it makes it hard to convince myself to try again. and i feel that this is specific to writing/author/book twitter where there is a careerist element, because i’ve never had a problem making and keeping friends on social media otherwise.

that being said! bright spots on twitter: i like following lit outlets to see what people are talking about in terms of recent releases, genre, and craft. lithub, electric lit, avidly, and real life mag keep me busy and thinking. i really enjoy sophie haigney, tony tulithamutte, lauren michele jackson, gabrielle bellot, and brandon taylor for lit/cultural crit. some authors who i enjoy following from afar are lee mandelo (sff, queer, and academia stuff), malinda lo (writing across genres and queer stuff), and c.l. clark (sff, black, queer stuff). andrew karre at dutton is a really good follow and appears to be a very passionate advocate for his authors.
 

RaggyCat

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Litdawg - to be fair, I only just followed you a couple of hours ago as it occured to me that I hadn't so I wasn't left hanging!

Elle - Maybe your timing on Twitter has been good, and it helped you got nice book announcements? My publisher didn't do one for me because they wanted to control the timing (apparently the Bookseller is often quite random when they choose to share news stories, and not always reliable) and as a result it didn't have much of an impact. I'm glad you've had a nice experience though - debut groups can be brilliant.

I also think Twitter is hard if you're juggling different identities on the same account, as Litdawg mentions. I know a few people like this. And I think people can be quite mercenary and discard/not reciprocate others if they deem the other person "not helpful", or that their needs are already met by other people. More so than they would be in real life, even.

I'm liking this talk of bright spots, though - it's absolutely right that there's no point focusing on people that (for what every reason) just aren't reciprocal. Even though I'm on a downer with it, there are definitely bright spots on Twitter that I can see. For example, I'm having a really nice conversation with an author I mentored for something and it feels like our senses of humour have really connected, putting aside that we're at different stages of our writing journeys. And there's another author I once DMed about something because I thought "why not reach out" who I email, and is full of knowledge and interesting insight. Like Woollybear says - "The bright spots are feeling a real connection with a stranger over something meaningful and human, which happens." And then there's here, of course, and some of the connections I've made here have flowed onto Twitter really nicely. (This conversation on here has really helped me feel better about Twitter, so thanks, all).

scarywicket - I think YA can move particularly quickly, which maybe accounts for some of the stories I've heard of agents cooling towards clients? It's also particularly faddy, which makes sense given how changeable teenagers are, and that they grow up. Let is know if/when you do send that email - you're definitely not alone here.
 
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Harlequin

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Discord has def been more rewarding for me.

Twitter I do follow people and have some sense of community but it's hard tk shake the feeling that every tweet is like handling n dynamite. Do it wrong and it will blow up in my face. Discord I have more leeway for mistakes.
 

NIYRAK

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I have found Twitter to be overwhelming at times have yet to make any real connections. AW is where I have found the best writer friends. :)

I am usually screaming into the void with twitter...here I get actual answers and communication.

Also feel free to follow me on Twitter for random void screaming weekly. Same screen name.
 
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Elle.

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Raggy — I have definitely been very lucky with our debut group. I have heard bad stories about groups who can be quite snobbish or competitive but I haven't found that in ours at all. I'm sure the announcement didn't hurt and being with a big 5 helps, but most authors I got to know by commenting on twitter after reading their book or commenting on cover reveal and such.

I definitely agree that it must be hard juggling different personalities on one account and I don't think I would be able to manage that. Plus, I'm too old to learn a new social media platform so I think I'll just stick with it for now!
 

RaggyCat

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Raggy — I have definitely been very lucky with our debut group. I have heard bad stories about groups who can be quite snobbish or competitive but I haven't found that in ours at all. I'm sure the announcement didn't hurt and being with a big 5 helps, but most authors I got to know by commenting on twitter after reading their book or commenting on cover reveal and such.
Sorry, Elle, I didn't mean to sound dismissive or rude with my previous comment (I realise it might have come across that way)! Whatever you've been doing on Twitter is clearly working, so I'm glad you're having a good experience. I've done the whole commenting on author's books and cover reveals myself but it rarely translates into anything which is why I wonder about cliques/snobbery! Who knows.
 
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mentacle

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Hello all! Glad to see this place is back! I hung here a bit around 2018 and the site would take close to 5 minutes to load per page, quite a frustrating experience. I guess it's been overhauled!
Like many here, I'm waiting on emails and editor responses. I basically said to "only give me good news" thinking that would help with my anxiety, except the anxiety got worse? No news is bad news! Anyway that's where I am. Looking forward to comisserating with you!
 
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Carrie

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I hung here a bit around 2018 and the site would take close to 5 minutes to load per page, quite a frustrating experience
Ooh! I had the same experience. I would have to multitask when trying to catch up on posts. Good luck with the submissions and nice to meet you!
 

Elle.

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Sorry, Elle, I didn't mean to sound dismissive or rude with my previous comment (I realise it might have come across that way)! Whatever you've been doing on Twitter is clearly working, so I'm glad you're having a good experience. I've done the whole commenting on author's books and cover reveals myself but it rarely translates into anything which is why I wonder about cliques/snobbery! Who knows.
No worries at all, I didn't take it that you way at all. At the end of the day I think there are as many Twitter experience as they are users.
 

scarywicket

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nice to meet you, mentacle! i sympathize with the endless waiting—hopefully there'll be some good news soon.

aceafer, i'm curious to hear more about your discord experience! i've heard really good things but i don't understand the logistics of it—the one time i was in a server it was by invite and i never got the hang of the platform, honestly. like i have no idea if every server is invite-only or if there's communities/lists/??? for some reason i envision it as a sort of livejournal situation where there's a mix of private and public communities but maybe that's totally off base.

update on my stuff—I emailed my agent and they got back to me quickly to let me know that they have been following up periodically with our remaining editors but there's nothing new to report. this is officially the longest we've gone without a response, which is a bummer. i'd hoped there would be news in the months after summer when everyone's on vacation but maybe manuscripts received more recently take precedence. who knows how it all works i guess!

my agent did ask about my next project and it sucks to have almost nothing to report. i have some work drafted but don't really want a second set of eyes on it until it's more developed. what i've learned about myself is that i have to write as if it will never be subject to anyone's expectations or tastes or vision but my own or i will go absolutely crazy and freeze up and not get anything done lmao. i also feel bad saying that i've been focusing on paid freelancing work over the fiction that they actually represent me for, but at the end of the day a girl's gotta eat. and i did tell them at the beginning of the year that this was my plan. so! hopefully they won't drop me for it hahahaha
 

A.P.M.

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I'm in your exact position, scarywicket and mentacle--Just waiting and waiting. I didn't think Fall would be a slow time, but in the COVID era, who knows.
 

mentacle

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I'm in your exact position, scarywicket and mentacle--Just waiting and waiting. I didn't think Fall would be a slow time, but in the COVID era, who knows.
Yeah! So much waiting. It's only been three weeks, but...Then one of my online acquaintances said she had her graphic novel go to auction after two or three days...that hit me kind of hard.
 

mentacle

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nice to meet you, mentacle! i sympathize with the endless waiting—hopefully there'll be some good news soon.

my agent did ask about my next project and it sucks to have almost nothing to report. i have some work drafted but don't really want a second set of eyes on it until it's more developed. what i've learned about myself is that i have to write as if it will never be subject to anyone's expectations or tastes or vision but my own or i will go absolutely crazy and freeze up and not get anything done lmao. i also feel bad saying that i've been focusing on paid freelancing work over the fiction that they actually represent me for, but at the end of the day a girl's gotta eat. and i did tell them at the beginning of the year that this was my plan. so! hopefully they won't drop me for it hahahaha
Thanks, good luck to your book too!
I understand and know where you're going. It's so hard to try to think up a 2nd book when your first is still on sub! It seems everything hinges on how the 1st sub goes. Like, if it doesn't sell, will my agent dump me? Deprioritize me? Will I have to leave them and start querying again? Should I even show them my new book proposal, and how will that affect the business relationship if they do leave me? Etc Etc. Maybe I'm catastrophizing.
 

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