Sunday, May 6, 2012
Two Minutes - To Pass or Fail
I recently attended Literary Orange, an annual day-long event held at the University of California, Irvine. It's a love fest for authors and readers, with well-known authors as keynote speakers, and morning and afternoon workshops covering a variety of writing and publishing topics. One of the workshops I attended was on the topic of fiction, and how to get "lucky", which to a writer means, how to get published. One of the panelists, a publisher, discussed her approach to manuscripts sent to her. She expects the writing to be transcendent. When asked to give an example of something she recently read (a current book perhaps) where she thought the writing was transcendent, she couldn't provide one. But the real jolt was when she said she gives each submission only two minutes. Two minutes! Granted, some writing can be so awful that two minutes is probably all it takes to know it should not be published. But don't the majority of submissions deserve more time than that? Not all books start off with a bang. I can name many popular books which started off slowly, but once the story unfolded, they were well worth reading. They would never have made her two minute limit. So good luck, all you writers who hope to be published. If you happen to encounter this particular publisher make sure you're not only transcendent, but that your transcendency is apparent in the first two minutes. Oh, and don't forget, the publishing world is very subjective. We all know about the best sellers that received numerous rejections before finally finding the right publisher. If you've worked at your craft, then have faith in yourself, even when it's easy to become discouraged. The right fit is out there.