Last year I dusted it off and took a peek. Cleaned up a few things. Made a few revisions. Sent it off to a small press with fingers crossed. The acquisitions editor said it wasn’t right for their catalog. No big deal; I know how the system works.
I sent it off to my agent with fingers crossed. She responded by saying it was too similar to books she’d seen before, and that it requires significant work before she felt she could sell it. No big deal; I know how the system works.Since I have no particular timetable for this manuscript, I asked a beta reader to read it. He came back with specific feedback on motivation, implausible plot points, and character likeability. Like a patient diagnosed with an unfavorable condition, I sent it off to another of my beta readers before making changes. Second opinion and all that. She came back with specific feedback on tension, implausible plot points, and character likeability.
In some cases, they presented contrary opinions. In other cases, they said the same thing. So who do I listen to? Whose opinion do I value?
Both. Because each of them identified specific points to back up my agent’s phrase “requires significant work.” Because each of them is a readers who had a reaction to my manuscript. Because each of them respect what I'm doing enough to tell me the truth (gently) instead of lying and saying the manuscript is ready to be published tomorrow or being hurtful and telling me the manuscript is dreck (even if that's what they thought). They each gave me something I could work with. And at this stage, that’s the most valuable feedback any writer could hope to receive.
Because revising to make something better? No big deal. I know how the system works.