Manuscript Critique for Hubbers
Cold Outside the Comfort Zone
Imagine you are sitting in front of your computer (not an unlikely scenario). You have your best manuscript in hand, metaphorically speaking, it is right there on your virtual desktop. You have read it over and over, checked spelling and grammar. Still, you have that nagging sensation. It feels like an empty space, a gaping hole somewhere inside your stomach. Let’s call it “the uncertainty factor.”
Here you are, safe inside your Comfort Zone, but growing restless to the point of that uncertainty becoming a source of discomfort. Even digital moments can gather dust, and how much longer can you afford to wait before you expose those words, lines, pages of yours to the Real World?
It’s a cold world out there, with slush piles and literary agents having lunch. Rejection is almost a compliment compared with being ignored. Once you start submitting your work to the literary establishment, your Comfort Zone is no longer yours to keep, it has been penetrated by your self-inflicted intrusion into your own privacy. As you hear nothing day after day, you almost wish that you could pay “them” to stay away, allowing your Comfort Zone to heal. Go back you cannot, so you send them polite reminders, then angry sounding reminders, and finally you get it: The first rejection letter!
Oh but wait, it’s not too late, because your best manuscript still sits there on your desktop, you haven’t exposed it yet, haven’t even printed it out. In a world so cold, there has got to be a better alternative, some Guardian Angel that will watch over you and bring you closer to the light, unscratched.
A gentler environment…
Fiction Factory recently wrote a hub entitled “Forming a Manuscript Critique Circle.” It is going rather well, with a number of very interesting manuscripts now in the pipeline. Fiction is welcome, non-fiction is welcome, and those who did contact us were rather fast to do so. Writers are helping writers, that’s all the way it ought to be.
Still, there may be those who hesitate – and that for reasons I will now set out to outline, then try to address:
- Exposing your manuscript to critique means that another person – one stranger, if not more – has seen your work and formed an opinion about your material and your qualities as a writer. Internet or not, there are issues of privacy, professional pride, and a measure of vanity involved. If the critique is negative, it can be embarrassing that this other person or these other persons will forever know about your weaknesses;
- The readiness factor: No longer is the Comfort Zone well-preserved, once the critic has laid eyes on your manuscript. Not as ice cold as a rejection letter from an agent or publisher, maybe, but close enough. So why not wait another day? Another week?
The safest solution of them all…
Imagine an Internet-based service, free of charge, where all you have to do is upload or email your manuscript. You will receive a response along these lines:
- An acknowledgement of you having expressed interest in our project;
- A confirmation that we will be happy to review your manuscript free of charge;
- Upon us having received your manuscript, you should receive a confirmation via email, which will confirm the title received, format, number of pages, and acknowledgement of you as the stated copyright owner;
- We will also indicate how much time is needed to review your manuscript – usually anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks, all depending on the length, format and complexity of your manuscript;
- If you prefer to receive feedback from an anonymous reviewer and to remain anonymous to the reviewer, please write the word “anonymous” in the subject heading of your next email;
- The name of a person for you to contact anytime with questions or inquiries concerning the pending review.
Fellow Hubber, you already have access to this service. Why not take it for a spin? Please contact us via HubPages, and we will take it from there...