The more you say your novel is like your life, the less excited I am. We aren't objective about our own lives
Why This Matters:I can totally see what someone might find this offensive, if it were embedded in a responding email or critique. We know the microcosm of our own lives. We are intricately acquainted with the miracles and pitfalls, large and small. Of course our own experiences are an enormous legacy in our own lives - we've lived through them.
But think about it: an agent or editor owes you nothing in the way of compliments. You want them to like your work, even love it? You've got to sell it on its tangible allurements. Saying that it mirrors your own life - when they don't know you from Adam's housecat - isn't going to grab their attention, even if you have lived the most amazing incredible fantastic death-defying OMG-You-Won't-Believe-What-Happened love-conquers-all kind of life.
Also, the original point still stands: We are not objective about our own lives. We've lived it, so of course what we've been through matters most to us. We are essentially self-centered critters, after all.
What To Do: Look at your own work from an outsider's point of view, and write your hook and summary from there. Can't look at it from an outsider's POV? Get a literature-savvy friend to help. My writer's group is constantly doing rough-draft hook-and-summary blurbs for one another, so that the creator of the work can see what it is that draws a reader in. Using that as a springboard, you can then work on selling your work because it has x and y and z, and not because it's based on the All Fantabulous Me.
Authors, proofread your blogs. It looks suspicious (at best) when your sub is great & your blog is littered with errors.
However: one of the main reasons for a writer to begin a blog - especially if they intend to showcase their work - is to set up an internet presence. It is a presence, moreover, that most agents or publishers will expect, or at least ask about, when you finally make it into that Inner Circle of Consideration. When that happens, the blog becomes part of your resume.
Of course you still want to be "the real you" on your blog. Who doesn't? Freshness and realism is a large part of the appeal of having a blog, especially if you intend to establish a professional reputation through your writing. But think of it this way: If you go in for a job interview, wouldn't you want to know whether your pants were unzipped, or your blouse was misbuttoned, or you had ickiness hanging out of your nose?
You would never want to show up to an interview that way. Even if it's for the initiation into a ninja-nun-biker-gang. I don't care how casual, formal, freaky or docile the dress code is - you'd still stop in the bathroom on the way to the interview and check to make sure everything is zipped, hooked, buttoned, wiped, aligned, or artfully askew in the right gangsta way before you walked in for your interview (or initiation/hazing ordeal).
Great post! I find when I'm in a hurry I make blunders I wouldn't normally make. Actually a few popped up lately that I hastily edited as soon as they were found. D'OH!ReplyDelete
Same here! It seems that something always "goes to the presses" before I catch it.Delete
Good points. I know that when I blog, I tend to just re-read through it once before hitting submit. My resume? I still agonize over that (and still think it sucks....)ReplyDelete
Yeah.....it is a daunting thing to consider....still not sure what my blog says to a prospective agent/publisher....Delete
What an awesome spot and very valid points. I try really hard to be a great writer on my blog, but I often can't see past my own mistakes :(ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading! ....and we all make mistakes. I'm glad I'm not alone in that struggle!Delete
When I first started blogging, it was hard to balance being professional and having fun with it. The more I do it, the easier it gets (sometimes, heh). Great tips!ReplyDelete