I’m not exactly the most impressive author on the planet, but some things I’ve learned. Top of that list is EDIT!
The next thing on that list is “It’s not ready yet.” That’s the battle I’m fighting with The Brotherhood. Five stories, four of them have seen extensive critiquing, and I’m getting close to being ready to submit. “It’s not ready yet.”
The Final Spell (published in the anthology Shadows and Teeth: Vol. I [Darkwater Syndicate]) is the first story. This is followed by The First Horseman (published in the anthology Lost and Found: Tales of Things Gone Missing [Wagonbridge Publishing]), then The Prophet of Death (unpublished), Windowed the Soul (unpublished), and finished off by Victory (“it’s not ready yet”).
My critique groups are only about half-way through Victory, but my first pass of self-editing the whole collection is almost done. That makes me eager to throw caution to the wind and send it off to agents and publishers.
But, “it’s not ready yet.”
That’s a rookie mistake I still fight against, and it Must Be Resisted. An editor or agent can usually tell within a couple of minutes if a piece might sell. Is that unfair? No. They’re the experts, and the project an author has labored across years to produce boils down to how the first couple of pages strike the gatekeepers. They know the industry in ways authors never will.
They know if a subject or genre is selling at any given moment. That’s their job. Are dragons overdone? Are publishers looking for flawed superheroes? Maybe a new hit about a drug addicted piano player from an alien planet just sold and everyone wants to read about a hominoid who gets high on lime smoothies.
Who could have predicted THAT? Answer: nobody. But if you have a story ready to submit when something like it goes viral, you’re in. If you try to quick write the lime smoothie story when it first hits, the buzz will be gone before you get it done.
The point being, you can’t time the publishing market any more than you can time the stock market.
Write what you like to read. Practice your craft, and don’t make rookie mistakes. I’ve made most of them, though I’d never claim to have done them all.
And yes, I’ve violated the one I’m fighting now.
“It’s not ready yet.”
Though, if an agent or editor wants to look at either of the anthologies listed above, I’m nearly done.
Any takers? No?
“It’s not ready yet.”