Do you participate in the Lent practice of giving up something? I’m not Catholic, but my denomination followed this practice. My first year, I remember giving up Coke. I’m a real Coke addict. (The drink, not the drug.) I was at work, and had just taken a sip of my ritual mid-afternoon treat when I remembered my promise.
I couldn’t believe I’d slipped so fast. First day and I’m a failure.
Yes, I am literal in my interpretations. No grey, just black or white. And that’s something I’m trying to correct in my personal life as well as my writing.
When I first started submitting, if the guidelines said A. I gave them A. If the guidelines were vague, I’d ask questions until I understood the process and what they were looking for. After being in the game for almost five years now, I’m a bit more relaxed in my interpretations. I’ve heard from countless agents and editors they want a good story well told. And if they list off what they’re looking for, they might miss out on a manuscript that will blow them away.
Having faith in your work will move you forward. Knowing that you’ve written the best book you can at the time, should be enough. If all you do is polish, you’ll never be told no. You’ll also never get constructive feedback from the people who could have bought your book.
Last year when I was negotiating my contract with my editor (I don’t have an agent), I fell into that black or white mentality. Kicking myself during the long weekend after asking for a change in the options clause, I drove myself and my friend crazy with second guessing.
This is probably the reason agents earn their 15%.
As the hours passed without a response, I’d gone from confident in my request to convinced I’d phrased the email wrong and had offended her.
When Monday came and the editor agreed to my request, I was over the moon. I’d almost given up faith.
So this year, I’m giving up sugar. I may be a basket case by the time this blog posts. I’m sure I’ll fail at least once. But I know I’ll get back up and try again.
And that’s all that matters.
What are you giving up for Lent?
Mission to Murder is up for pre-order (coming July 31st) so I thought I'd share the cover. Don't you just want to go inside and see what's on sale?