Chronicles of a Writer: Literary Consultants
2017-10-05 11:23:46

Hello folks, and welcome to my first post here on this new, and essentially non-dairy website. By all rights, if you are reading this you are either a) family b) a stalker or c) hopped up on some mixture involving Vodka, Everclear, and a sports drink, and are soon to be questioning your life choices. Reading my blog won’t be one of them.

I am not going to tell you about me; my biography is on another page. Go there, shoo! Personally, I think it’s more important to know what I am: a debut author*. Curses of Scale, which will be released in November, will be my first traditionally published novel. And the lead up to it has been real eye opening. Now, I could droll on about all the things I have learned. Tip-toe through advice, and try to fool you into thinking I know what I am doing (spoiler: I don’t). But I thought it would be interesting, and perhaps educational, to tell you what I did do, and go over the consequences of my actions after, or in a follow up post. Perhaps it might help someone out there to not repeat what I have done, and thereby avoid the evils which (almost said witch) I have perpetrated upon mankind. So, we will call this little series Chronicles of a Writer, or drop the a, and make it C.O.W** for short.

So, let’s begin with the beginning, where things start, near the early part of any story. Three years ago, I had just finished writing the first ten or so chapters, and I wanted to know if I even had a story. Rather than hunt down a couple of beta-readers, I decided to skip the socializing/human interaction thing, and hired a “Literary Consultant.” Word for the wise, as I found out later: there is no avoiding socializing, as a wannabe author.

I paid a typical, albeit non-cheap sum of $200, for the analysis of my first three chapters. The review came back lightning fast, and there were quite a few helpful notations along the following:

My text: Glass sprayed the forest, and the face of a hidden assassin was ruined.
Reviewer’s Analysis: More specific? This is telling, not showing. What exactly does Calem see in this moment. What does the face look like and how is it damaged? How does the attacker react?

But also, some odd remarks:

My text: Yes! A thousand times yes..But aren’t you already married?
Reviewer’s Analysis: The fairy wants to marry him? A male fairy? I’m confused.***

In short, it was a mixed bag. On one hand there were plenty of in depth insights that did ultimately help my writing. Yet, there were also several comments that made me question if the reviewer was even reading the story, and/or why they insisted on bringing their own non-writing relating beliefs into it.

So, ultimately, was it worth the $200? No. I could have bit the bullet and scoured some forums like Absolute Write - put in a little effort to get to know people, and ended up receiving the same sort of conclusions. Top it off with the person ending their analysis with a pitch for their writing books and other services, and it made me wonder how sincere some of the comments were, or if I was merely being buttered** up for a sale.

Next up: the quest for an editor, or “dear-god I hope this doesn’t end with a 1k price tag commentary of how much I suck.”

*Sure, there was that other book I self-published eleven years ago, but It was like my flirtation with a handlebar mustache; purely a vanity affair.
**I lied when I said this would be a non-dairy website.
***The fairy is just, to note, messing with the character.

S.D. Reeves BOOKS. COPYRIGHT 2017.