Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group: No Logic in publishing

If you don’t know what IWSG is all about, hop on over to TheNinja Captain and check it out. Then go say howdy to this month’s cohosts, M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee. Jump on the linky and get a hopping!

So how are things going for everyone today? For me, things were, well, it’s hard to say really. I was having all the wishy washy feelings that come with being involved in a contest. Most writers know them by heart:
My writing is crap.
My work is just a gimmick.
I thought this novel would be different.
But I thought I’d gotten so much better! This is so embarrassing, how long have I been writing and I’m not even the top ten percent of a contest???

So, some time back I started writing (it was longer ago than I’d care to admit at this point, but you know, stuff), and for some reason, I thought that we just got better with time. Like I thought that we just climbed the steps and you got better as you went. I also thought that getting better sort of equated to having the IT stuff of contest glory and marketability.

I’m such a fool sometimes.

And then, while I was sulking around the house (wrangling kid and getting ready to go pour my life into my day job again), I realized something: My Super Duper FAVORITE QUERY in the WHOLE CONTEST hadn’t been picked.


As in, the writer who had what I considered the IT factor, the well written, well polished, AWESOME concept, story that I would have bought based on query and first page in the bookstore (maybe even in hardback!), that writer hadn’t been picked. She was probably having all the same feels as me, and it was absolutely wrong. Like there is no justice in the universe, because I would so buy that book, then go watch the movie adaptation. And I would make ALL MY FRIENDS go with me (I have some powers of persuasion). And that creator was probably having the tough feels about worth and value and how her writing isn’t good and no one wants to read her stories.

Like OMG, What the poor-scientific-method Batman? How is that fair? And there’s nothing else I can do except say “I love your query and first page.” But somehow, the words of a fellow contestant aren’t going to have the same impact as one judge in a contest that ultimately doesn’t actually mean anything. I mean, yes, it is awesome to be picked, and the coaching phase is super awesome, but it’s not any bigger than the regular slush pile.

So yeah, Chin Up my writer buds. If you’re feeling down on your work, and the whole “no one loves my work," try to realize that my absolute favorite out of 195 (yes I read all the queries), that person didn’t get an invitation in the first round. As in she beat out 99.4% of the competition in my eyes and she wasn’t even picked. So, while you’re having the tough feels, just try to remember it could be you I’m talking about.


  1. It is hard to get your head around isn't it? What one person loves, another might not. I read somewhere recently that it is important to not take these kind of things personally, it's a judges opinion on the day they read your entry. Wishing you much success next time, Rena.

  2. I know exactly that feeling. How can some of those great writers not be big winners? It's crazy but we've just got to keep on pushing forward. Good luck! :)

  3. Writing is so subjective. This is a tough business and rejections are normal. Don't give up. It's also the most rewarding line of work for me:)

  4. That does suck, but just goes to show that writing contests are as subjective as the rest of the industry. >_<

  5. That sucks. But so very true. It's very subjective. Not everyone loves the same stuff. I also think certain types of mss do better in contests. But it's so hard to say.

  6. Publishing is the hardest, stupidest thing I've ever done. Putting my soul out there for people to judge. Because that's what I'm doing - my soul is in each book/story I write. No wonder writers are somewhat crazy most of the time!

  7. Currently reading a book called the War of Art and it addresses the issue of that inner critic, the obstacles you set up for yourself. I have a feeling I'll read this book many times and still have these moments.

    Great post. It really helped put things in perspective.

  8. I can't believe you read all the queries!
    And boo on you and her not getting picked. I generally had good luck getting picked for contests, and though I wound up with some fulls, they never got me anywhere. Querying is what garnered my first offer and I still think querying is the best way to land that agent.

  9. I tried to read all the queries, but it honestly was depressing me because mine was so poor in comparison. My favorite, too, wasn't even picked. I'm like.. what?! I guess none of knew what these judges wanted. Oh well, moving on to the next thing, right?


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