Recently I asked two published authors to read my work in hopes that they would give me a referral to their publishing house if they found my work deserving. The first author, who will shall call Prof. Grumpypants, is a college professor that writes action books for grown-ups. His books are filled with lots of guns and violence. The other author is Mary Cunningham, she writes in the Young Adult genre and is the creator of the family friendly series CYNTHIA'S ATTIC. Her blog is linked to mine, so by all means check her out if you are looking for a nice, family friendly read.
Prof. Grumpypants read my entire book and the only feedback he gave me was that he found my writing weak and therefore wouldn't give me a referral. It seems as a teacher he would have been more inclined to give examples as to how I could improve upon this, but he did not. Had he I probably would have dubbed him Prof. Helpfulpants, but clearly that is not the case. Instead he just threw his negative response at me and left it at that.
I was justifiably crestfallen, but then I considered the source. Writers pen stories that appeal to them. If he enjoys creating stories about people getting their brains blown out then my young adult manuscript, in which everyone's brains stay firmly intact, is not going to appeal to him in the least. Because good writing, just like any other form of art, literature, film, etc, is completely subjective. If a lawyer wins numerous cases, he/she is a good lawyer. If a doctor saves lives, he/she is a good doctor. It's cut and dry. But that's not the case with writing. It's all a matter of opinion.
Case in point, we return to Mary Cunningham. (Side note--by her name I immediately thought of Richie and Joanie's mom. She would only say nice things, right?) As a young adult author herself I figured my style of writing would be more up her alley. I was right. She sent me an email yesterday saying she was BLOWN AWAY by my story. "Blown away", those were her exact words. Like I was a force of nature huffing and puffing and blowing her socks off with the words I had strung together. Now that may seem egotistical to say, but after the countless rejections I have received I'm going to go ahead and savor this rave review!! Judge me if you want, I'm gonna enjoy it!!
Mary did have a little bit of feedback of how I could tweek THE CONDUIT every so slightly, but said whether I choose to take her suggestions or not she is going to give me a referral to her publisher Echelon Press. Hopefully they will be as BLOWN AWAY as she was. To show my appreciation to Mary I am going to pick up a copy of all four of her CYNTHIA'S ATTIC and I hope you all do the same!