Critiques: The truth hurts, but it will gain you entry into the Feedback Protection Program

I made the decision a month ago to enlist professional assistance with my query.  I felt I was gathering conflicting feedback on all aspects of selling my MS, where the only certainty was confusion.

Over the past six months, I’ve been building my own understanding of the submission process, querying and pitching. I’m not going to lie: it’s been a tough six months. But it’s six months that I will never have to endure again. Of course, I’ll always be learning. But that learning curve, like a child introduced to the complexities of the English Language and school bullies, will never be so steep again.

I needed a gauge. A reference by which I could work from. Rewriting and rewinding and spinning and freakin’ cartwheeling ideas in my query was only costing me time on whine and money on wine.

But here’s the thing. Unless you’ve been round the block a few times and caught up with the cool kids for a smoke, you might be surprised at how your work is viewed objectively. It’s daunting. And demoralising. And yeah, I’ve swallowed the subjective angle to make myself feel better. But I needed to accept that there are aspects of my MS, query or synopsis that are confusing and need work.

So, just as an alcoholic has to admit  that they have a problem in order to progress, I needed to accept how far along I was in the process. And just like those brave alcoholics, I have my own support network: The Feedback Protection Program.  And without my honest critique partners who support me when I’m down, I would need a drink also.

So  initially, it set me back days. And after those days of WTFing, I realised it’s going to set me back months.  But if I’m lucky enough to get a partial or a full request, I don’t want there to be any surprises that I didn’t plant throughout the plot.

And that could set me back years.





12 thoughts on “Critiques: The truth hurts, but it will gain you entry into the Feedback Protection Program

  1. I hope this works out for you. I am in a quandary myself as to how to sell “the whole package of me” to agents. I am even in a quandary as to what kind of writer I really am. It’s hard when you write different things. These are things I’m going to need to make a decision about. Fingers crossed for you.

    • It’s hard because you not only have to follow protocol – which is all good – but you have to sell your book as a concept. along with yourself. And it’s getting that edge that’s so important. But at least going down this route means that I will at least tick the boxes on protocol 🙂

  2. Hey there. I did get that request for a full and that was fun and exciting until the rejection came. Soooo I am back to the drawing board….doing some editing. Fortunately the agent did tell me what stopped him from accepting my ms. I think you’re doing the right thing in spending more time on your query and your ms….make it something no agent will reject! Good luck, hang in there.

    • That’s no good 😦 I guess it’s great that you received the feedback ( although I’m scared of this myself) and that you know your query works, but having to make those chnages when you are so excited would be hard 😦 At least you are still leagues above thoes queries that are not up to scratch. Good luck with those changes 🙂 Would be tough when you are so close – but you are now so much closer. And then you can resubmit !

  3. Good for you for taking that step! It’s something I’ve been considering as well, even though there are plenty of resources out there to help with the query letter (and the rest of it). Like you said, though, everyone’s got an opinion. Listen to too many–try to include too many–and it’s easy to get lost.

    Let us know how it goes.

    • And lost I was… A lot of the advice I was getting is spot on, but when I was left to your own devices, I tended to cling to those ‘maybe’s’ that I wanted to believe in – that would make my life easier. So far, it’s been tough and it can only get easier. But the problems found will reduce those ‘red flag’s hopefully, allowing the book to be rejected, not the query.

  4. Hello again, Lorelle. In my experience, your observation about the only certainty being confusion is absolutely spot on. And it can really hurt. We’ve all been there. It’s a long haul but you’ll make it in the end, whether it’s days, months or years. And when you get there it’ll feel really great. Best of luck with everything.

    • Hey, Marcus. Nice to hear from you again. Hope you’ve been getting stuck into that writing :)It’s a real battle this query business. And merely surfing the web will not prepare you for what has to be done! When I have it all sorted out, I should be able to move forwards 🙂

    • I’m just so keen to get these queries out – I’m yet to send out one yet – and I feel I’m going backwards. But all this editing and checking should hopefully increase my chances 🙂

  5. I know well the pain of the first solid critique coming from someone who knows the craft. It’s painful. But it is ultimately what we need to grow. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that good criticism is a gift, and get back to the pen!

  6. It was a rough month or so, and it took me a few weeks to digest what needed to be done. I guess the hardest part was taking everything apart, following the rules, and then putting it all back together again so it sounded like me 🙂

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