Just a few thoughts about incidents that have taken place over the past few weeks. I’ve completed a massive revision of the third novel in my Anthanian Imperative trilogy, and now the novel looks pretty good. I’ve been working on it for about five years now, and it’s in good enough shape I wouldn’t be ashamed for someone else to take a look at it. And that brings up an important point.
I’m looking for beta readers for all three of the novels which constitute the trilogy, especially the last two. The first one has been through five or six critique groups over its eighteen-year lifespan. (Yes, it’s true, if that novel were a person, it would be old enough to vote in the coming election.) But those groups were made up almost exclusively of amateur writers, people who had never published a novel before, and who, like me, were novices at writing. I admire and appreciate their comments. However, I need a professional to take a look at it. Someone who has actually published a novel. Someone who knows what the publishing world wants. Self-publishing doesn’t count. And this applies to the other two also. If you’re a professional writer with a history of getting publishers to take a look at a science-fiction novel, let me know.
You may say, why not use some of the literary critique websites, and I certainly could. Perhaps I could get one or more good reviews that way. But I’m not sure I want to give it to just anyone, sight unseen. I’d like to know a little about whoever it is I’m sending it to. A little familiarity perhaps, say from Facebook or from personal experience in the Albuquerque area.
Also, I’ve just finished querying eighteen agents with the first novel. I’ve completely revised my query letter along the lines of I-don’t-know-how-many authors, agents and editors who have all published helpful hints on writing a query letter. I’ve already gotten two rejections (some agents are really good at keeping up-to-date with their inbox submissions). But the other sixteen will, if experience is any guide, dribble in over the next several months. Some will not reply at all, and after about three months, that will constitute a rejection. I’m upbeat about the possibility of getting a request for more pages, even for a full manuscript, but my experience tells me not to be. I’ve had so little luck with either the novel or the query process, I tell myself to stay grounded and not let a good novel or query letter go to my head. I really like the first novel, though. I think it’s my best work. But nobody else does.
Other comments: If you are one of my “friends” on Facebook, you might have noticed that I criticized LitReactor for their use of profanity (i.e., four-letter words) in endorsing an author they like. Call me a prude if you want, but don’t call me a taxi. I happen to believe that the profession of writing is above all that. The use of profanity is disgusting and repulsive. It drags the user down into the gutter, and the book and author with it. It makes me wonder about the character of the people who run the website. What are they thinking? I sure hope that if in the (unlikely?) event that I get a few books published, LitReactor won’t call attention to mine in the same manner. I would rather have them keep quiet than submit to that form of support or approval.