Friday, September 16, 2011

Agent and editor blurbs?

I received a positive rejection yesterday from an editor on an YA I wrote a few years back. I'll take a personalized, positive rejection over a form rejection or no-response any day. It builds your confidence when an editor takes the time to say some nice things about your work. But at the same time, they're saying "Thanks, but no thanks." So, no matter how many personalized, positive rejections you get, it's still a rejection. It still hurts. It's still not what you're working towards.

Regardless, it got me thinking, half in jest and half serious, about the idea of including agent/editor blurbs in my next submission. Something like, here's what editors and agents are saying about my YA techno-thriller. Of course, you'd leave out all the reasons they didn't want it, maybe leaving you with something resembling book cover blurbs like the following:

"Compelling main character!" "Intriguing high stakes premise!" "Great hook!"

Even though I'm tempted to do it, I realize it's not a good idea. While it sounds like it provides positive validation for the story, what it actually does is draw the editor's attention to the fact that it's already been rejected by a number of others. You don't need the editor or agent thinking rejection before they've even had a chance to read your work.

So, as tempting as it might be, the better solution is to keep working on improving your writing and make your queries irresistible.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Wolves, Boys and Other Things that Might Kill Me

Guest blogger and teen girl reviewer reviews Wolves, Boys and Other Things that Might Kill Me

Kristen Chandler’s title may suggest the popular theme of supernatural creatures, but no vampires or werewolves exist in this city.  All 17 year old and social outcast KJ wants is to survive high school in her small Montana town, but Virgil, the new kid from Minnesota, without warning starts a reaction that changes KJ as well as the whole town’s lives.  As her and Virgil start falling for each other, their small town outside Yellowstone National Park starts consequently falling apart.  Neighbor turns against neighbor, friends against friends.  Through all the turmoil, though, KJ begins to find her voice and confidence, standing up to the bullies of her school and villains of the town, creating a turning point for her whole town.

Chandler has created a rare type of book, one that does include the fun but short-lived teenage romances, but also the more emotional issues of an average teenager’s life: low self esteem and feeling to small to make a difference, needing to find the confidence to overcome opposition, family and issues at home, and the need to be loved.  Her book doesn’t just graze over problems, having a “happily ever after.”  Instead, she realistically writes of possible outcomes to real life and common situations, including all awkward, sad, happy and uncomfortable.  These realistic results make it quite easy to connect with the characters, making the book even more enjoyable.  Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, specifically to the teenage and young adults.