Revision completed and queries sent

If you don’t remember, we received a response to one of our queries almost two months back about some mistakes me made and how we could improve our manuscript. After that we stopped querying and started our major revising and major overhaul or our book.

Well, as of yesterday we finally finished our extensive revision! It didn’t take as long as we thought it would have, but it was still a painful process. Our manuscript has improved greatly with the revision, but I am so happy to be done. I just hope it’s enough to get an agent. That sounds bad, because of course I want our book to be more that good enough, but agents are selective on who they choose to represent. I personally, think our book is great. I think the story is great, the characters are awesome, and I can think of parts in my head that love–just like any other novel I read. One of the things we did was revise the beginning. And revise the beginning. And revise the beginning. In hopes it snags a agent, because we re-worked that thing to make it sound amazing. I hope there is an agent out there that falls in love with it!

We started the query process again yesterday. We sent out a few letters via email and are sending one more out tomorrow via snail mail. We will see how that all goes. One thing we have learned is to take our time with queries. You do not get anywhere by rushing the process.

As a writer…

While doing tons of research I’ve come across countless websites that say every writer thinks their manuscript is great. As in, the writer is the only one to think that.

So, my question is, how, as a new writer, do you know if your manuscript is good or bad? The simple answer would be, if you find agents who are interested then you know your book is good. But, when agents are taking on fewer and fewer clients, and publishers are publishing less books every year, how do you really know if your story is good? Or bad?

Because, I really, truly believe our manuscript is better than good; especially since we’ve revised this last time. I don’t think we’ll be the next J. K. Rowling or the next Nicholas Sparks, nor do I want us to be. But, I read. A lot. I know what I like to read and I know what I don’t like to read. I don’t even waste my time anymore finishing books I think are semi-interesting. I would rather move on to the next story. And I like reading my book. I know I wrote it and the characters are in my head, but I feel what they feel. I sympathize with them. And I want to know what happens to them, even if I’m the one who decides where their story goes.

The hard thing is that I’m sure most of those books I don’t finish were well written, used proper grammar and had a beginning, middle, and end. But that doesn’t make the story appealing. If I have to force myself to read–something I love to do–it doesn’t matter how good the writing is. If the story is not interesting I don’t want to read it.

Yet, agents turn down good stories all the time, because the manuscript needs work. Maybe it needs lots of work, but if it’s a good story and the reader wants to know what happens and is willing to buy it, isn’t that the important part? For example, there is no way any agent would have taken on Fifty Shades of Grey by simply reading a sample of her writing. But, it’s selling like crazy. It’s not good writing and needs a lot work, but the average person doesn’t care. They all want to know what happens to the characters. Even if they plan to stab their eyes out if they read one more “jeez” or “oh my.”

To clarify, I don’t think Fifty Shades should have made it past an agent either; at least not before some serious editing. I wanted to use a red pen on it myself. However, why can’t the publishing world be more in the middle? Don’t disregard all books that need a little work if the story is good. And don’t accept a book just because the writing is good, but the storytelling is so-so. Because I don’t want to waste my time.

So, how will we know if our manuscript is great? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.