I’ve been thinking about my last post and the comment I made that Harry Bingham, author of the Writers and Artists YearBook, pointed out that for any manuscript to be in with a chance of getting an agent or publisher it would, in the first instance, have to be a quality product. A no brainer… it’s an obvious statement but it has left me wondering all day if the book I have written is a ‘quality’ product’. Quality is so subjective don’t you think? For guidance I checked the dictionary: quality is – ‘lacking defects, deficiencies and significant variations.’ I can, with hand on heart, say that all the words I have put down have been carefully considered, frequently revised and over time been significantly culled. Without exception all the pages have been edited and proofread vigorously; the typos and errors in punctuation weeded out and corrected as far as is reasonably practicable. So am I in a good position to find and persuade an agent or publisher to believe in my book? Somehow I think not… especially as I keep being told that I have an infinitesimal chance of securing one. There has to be more to it than being able to produce a piece of quality work surely? Reading on, with no surprises, there is. Bingham gives a caveat that a book also has to have a ‘strong character; a sense of movement and story which is set within vibrantly described settings’. You know, as my eyes traced his words and read this description I found myself nodding, while thinking ‘yes!’ I want to believe that I’ve got these covered, but wouldn’t anyone in the same position want to think the same? No one really wants to face the possibility that what they think is good is actually going to be poorly rated by others. My work stands untested so how can I be sure of it’s perceived quality? Self doubt began to creep in again at this point, but my mood lifted when delving further into the chapter, as Bingham suggested that a major key to success is having a novel angle. ‘Stand out from the crowd’. This is a way of being that I have struggled with and tried to avoid all my life, but apparently when it comes to writing stories it can actually be a positive attribute. The story I have written I genuinely believe has a novel approach because it’s been written by ‘Me’. Dyslexically wired, I see the world from a different angle, which I have used to my advantage throughout the book as I illustrate and express my ideas. You know, I should have put The Writers & Artists Yearbook down at this point… but I didn’t. Instead, feeling on a high note, as if distracted I went on and casually flicked ahead. I stopped and pulled the pages apart when my eye caught the heading ‘Rejection’. I began reading again, only to learn that apparently there are three types of rejection letter one can expect to receive; the standard variety, a nice one, and an invitational version. He even commented that some agents might well use the silent treatment. Feeling weary in my own silence, as if trying not to know this rejection, I heard inspiration: “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” (Henry Ford).
It looks like I am going to have to toughen up