The last year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, triumph and self-doubt. I have screamed and cried and actually vomited from the overwhelming emotions that have come from this journey to publication. Today brought more tears, but this time a whole different kind.
After participating in #PitchSlam and not making it to the agent round, I decided to get together my submission package and query agents directly. So I started looking for editors to help me polish up my query and first 10 pages. With my past experience with freelance editing, I was weary about paying someone to look at my stuff. Luckily, nearly every editor I found this time offered free sample editing. After trying out a few, I settled on one that fit my style and needs.
For a VERY reasonable fee, she looked over my stuff and VERY quickly sent me back so of the most helpful feedback I've ever received. I have to admit, I was frightened by the amount of notes she had after I'd already been through three full edits. My fear was that since so much had been missed in the first 10 pages, that a LOT more had been missed in the rest of the manuscript.
So I asked Kimberly (that is the new editor I used) if she thought I needed a full critique. Understand, if she says I need one that means a payday for her. Other editors (less scrupulous editors) would have said yes just for the money. But not Kimberly. Kimberly told me that she could not in good conscience charge me for something she knew I had the skill and drive to do myself. She gave me some amazing notes and suggestions. She said that she believed I was almost there. 3/4 of the way to the agent stage. She said that after a couple of months of intense revisions she really thought I could get there. And she offered to take a look at my first 10 pages again once I've finished my revisions.
So I won't be querying this year, but that is not at all a bad thing. I will be using the tools and suggestions I have now to make this book the absolute best it can be and THEN I will query.
I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have a complete stranger be so supportive. Kimberly didn't have to do that. She could have just given me straightforward notes, with no encouragement at all. She could have let me hire her, taken my money, and lead me to stuff I could have found on my own. But she didn't. She took the time to let me know that I could do this and show me how. Her exact words to me were "Whatever you choose to do, know I'll be cheering you on!"
Wow! Just Wow!