Monday, 2 July 2007

The Front-Line

Sometimes it's difficult making sense of what can seem like conflicting information.
I guess I'm like so many hopefuls: my philosophy is that, if I can imagine an inventive and compelling story and subsequently write it well, everything else will take care of itself. I don't much care for the other stuff. You may be surprised to learn that I'm no business guru (yes, well you might gasp).
However, submission time is fast approaching and I'm starting the preparations: Who do I send to? What are their submission requirements? How do I know when I'm ready to submit? What constitutes a good synopsis, or a good covering letter?
Yuk. Why can't I pay someone to sort all this stuff for me? It takes up so much of my very precious writing time!
Sunset Bickham is a nice man. He understands.
There is a theory that we need to thoroughly understand our market and study the trends and aim to fill the requirements of any given publisher. It's a business after all, right?
Sunset offers a ray of hope (see what I did there ;o)
Three years at least from concept to publication, he says. You don't really want or need to attempt to predict where the market will be going in three years, he says. You do need to be aware of your market, he adds, but you focus your energies on creating a cracking, irresistable manuscript.
So I'm being aware. I've found some good YA fantasy lists on Amazon, and am being aware of them and of which of them are current. I'll order a few of the ones I've not heard of and check out the language and content, and compare them to my work (for Pullman is considered atypical and not a useful yardstick).
Beyond that, I really can't concern myself. If I don't fill a niche, then so be it. I see no sense in worrying about things that are beyond my control when there are so many things that I can control and improve. I'm told that no manuscript was turned down because it had a few minor things wrong with it: manuscripts are turned down because they are poorly written or because the agent/publisher can't see a place for them, or can't get excited by them.
Head in the sand or efficient distribution of time and resources?
Stubbornness or focus?
I don't know, but until I decide otherwise, I'm going to keep honing the writing and studying the art of story-telling.
(I'm compiling a list, and categorising, obstacles and means/solutions at the mo and will post here when I'm done. Heck, it's what I do for fun, and if this ever stops being fun, I'll find something else to do and that, my maggoty friends, is the point :o)

No comments: