But it gets a little depressing to always focus on the negative.
Thus, today I'm going to talk about what a writer actually does RIGHT to get themselves published. And here's a happy little secret before I start: All those reasons up there I've received rejections...I've done them--yes, ALL of them--and still sold my story.
I'm guessing right about now, you're wondering, "Then what in the world do I need to do to get my book noticed by a freaking publisher or agent?" Answer: Who really knows, but I think it takes a collaborative effort of tying the plot, characters, setting, tone, and author's voice into a fascinating story to catch a reader's attention.
Here's an example.
I was scanning Amazon for a new romantic suspense author. When I saw One Scream Away by Kate Brady in the "readers also bought these" section under some of my favorite romantic suspense authors, I googled her and checked out her website. After reading the first few lines of the excerpt she provided for this story, I immediately bought the book.
Here's one TOTALLY AMAZING paragraph from that excerpt:
Chevy Bankes looked down at the woman. Lila Beckenridge, her driver’s license said, the photo showing razor-sharp cheekbones and hair scraped into a bun. A dancer, he’d decided while roping her ankles—callused feet and spaghetti-thin body, the faint odor of perspiration layered beneath her perfume.We have plot (Chevy is going to murder Lila--duh), character (he's a psycho murderer that kills complete strangers; she's a dancer and it's obvious she puts her all into that endeavor), setting (it's vividly understandable we're at the murder scene that's about to take place), tone (romantic suspense, no doubt--or at least it's clearly suspenseful at this point), and voice (just look at all those colorful descriptions and lively verbs Brady uses--razor-sharp cheekbones, hair scraped into a bun, callused feet, spaghetti-thin body, perspiration layered...--outstanding!).
It's no wonder this author sold her book. There's all that story already packed into one little paragraph. She makes each word count toward the collective goal.
I suppose that's my lesson for the day: Make each word count. If a word, line, paragraph, or chapter doesn't add to the plot, character, setting, tone, or voice do you really need to keep it?
Yeah. Just think about it! And good luck with your manuscript.