“It is fresh, face paced and I would like to read it to the end.”
Late last year I entered the first part of my manuscript into a competition. First prize included a large amount of cash plus the writing currency needed to attract major attention from publishers. I had almost forgotten about the competition until the results found their way into my inbox. I was not a finalist. Disappointing, but the news did not sting. I already have experience in rejection. I looked closer at the email and to my surprise the judging notes were attached. Feedback from people inside the industry. A pot of gold. With a quivering hand I opened up the document.
From this mystery panel of judges I scored 100%, 92% and 65%. I was close, so much they issued my work to a 4th judge. I pictured this judge as a woman, sitting down at her desk, sipping milky tea, glasses sliding down her nose. Her forehead is ceased as she reads through my work, turning pages with dry hands. She decided I would not be a finalist. “I did not feel any connection to the characters nor investment in the storyline.” Ouch. A simple no would have sufficed.
There was a book I read last year, it ended up being a bestseller. It seemed everyone was raving about it. I went and purchased my own copy. I sat down with my coffee and creased my forehead. I found it difficult to get through the pages. I stopped at page 30. Maybe it wasn’t the right time to read it. Yet a month later I picked it up again and gave it another shot. No. I wanted to throw it into an open fireplace. With that book, I did not feel any connection to the characters nor investment in the storyline.
That is the painful yet wonderful thing about books. No book is universally loved (or disliked). Some are loved more than others, and every book will receive harsh criticism from the readers who didn’t connect with it.
I have gone back to my manuscript from this process with hope. I scored well from two judges, with comments full of praise and encouragement and a desire to read more. It has reminded me that I simply need to find the right person. The person who will love my book and who has the power to replicate it in a way so readers, my readers, will discover it and hold it in their hands, enjoying the work I have created. I have been reminded this work is worthy, but it wasn’t the right time. Maybe tomorrow will be, or next month. I don’t know when someone will say yes to me, but I have faith that they will, and until then I will keep searching for my cheerleader.