Youth Fiction Author and Illustrator's Official Blog Page

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Let the story speak for itself

by Kevin Scott Collier

I receive piles of manuscripts from writers to review, Many want my opinion, the others are seeking my illustration services. So, I read a lot of young adult and children's stories. What I grow weary of reading are the occasional self-serving, long letters of praise that accompany the manuscript attachments.

"I have had so many friends and family tell me this is the greatest story they have ever read." Or - "My coworkers say this book will be a best seller."

I never want to step on self-confidence, and always encourage a good outlook. I have said many times in columns, "If you don't believe in your work, no one else will, either." But, when you are submitting a story, let the story speak for itself.

Agencies approach publishers with such material. But if you have an agent, there's some credibility behind your work, or investors in your writing. That's acceptable. However, I cannot begin to tell you how many stories I have received accompanied by very, very long letters telling me how much I am going to enjoy the submission.

"You'll agree that it's the greatest thing you have ever read!"

How do you know that I will agree? How do you really know what your hardly objective, supportive friends and family think? Have they all actually read it?

I would approach others a bit more humbly when submitting a story for review. Have confidence, but remember you are seeking the opinion of another for either a contract or job prospect. It really doesn't matter what you say about your story, the person who will read the story will judge it by its merits, not your hype.

When I am submitting something to a publisher or editor I never ramble on about how good it is. If they accept it, it is because it is of interest or good. It isn't accepted because I said my Aunt Gertrude declared, "It is the greatest story ever written."

One writer I know wrote me a while back asking why she hasn't seen much success with her writing. I didn't have the heart to tell her it was because she wasn't very good. Perhaps some writers should focus more attention on writing a good story than a letter telling an editor what he or she should think.

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