For the past two days I have been in Cincinnati, attending the first annual Writerâ€™s Digest University Editorsâ€™ Intensive Event. For those of you who don’t know, Writer’s Digest is the definitive magazine for writers. It is published by FW Media, which also publishes Writer’sMarket and Guide to Literary Agents, the two writer’s bibles when it comes to getting published.
Among other things, the conference promised to teach me how to identify potential agents and write an effective one-page query letter for the purposes of soliciting an agent for my book. While it delivered on both counts, the most valuable part of the conference was a 30-minute review of the first 50 pages of my manuscript by one of the WD editors. My meeting occurred this afternoon and there was good news and bad news. The editor confirmed that I have good writing skills and commented that I have led a very interesting life, which is in my favor when trying to get a memoir published, however he also thought I had a lot of work to do on the manuscript before it is ready to submit to an agent. Although he loved the opening of my book, he recommended I completely rework the next four chapters, condensing them to one much shorter chapter.
It is a bit disheartening to think that I now have to go back and cut out so much of the writing that I sweated blood over, but I know the editor’s suggestions are very valid and these changes will make my book much stronger. I now realize that I went into this process with unrealistic expectations. Since I have been writing for years, I thought I could crank out the book in just a few months and be published in a year or so. I was so wrong. Someone commented today Continue reading