Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesdays with #InternEthan {2}

Hey hey everyone! We've reached the halfway point on this week and are headed head first into yet another weekend. The very last weekend before Christmas. I don't know about you guys, but I am so far behind with my Christmas shopping. I've been so busy with work and life stresses that Christmas has been on the back burner in a big way. I hope all of you are gearing up for an awesome Holiday season!

This week in the Intern-world, I learned quite a bit. Sarah threw several manuscripts at me last week so I had lots to keep me busy. (No she didn't actually throw anything at me, merely pushed them into my inbox. LOL) This week was... well... a week of vast variety. I had four manuscripts and they all fell into very different categories: a historic fiction, a middle grade paranormal, a YA supernatural fantasy, and a dark-YA Sci-Fi. What did I learn from all that reading? The next big thing is out there: finding it just isn't as easy as I anticipated.

I have yet to read a manuscript that I absolutely hate. That being said, there are several that I just knew weren't ready for the next stage in their journey to hit the shelves. This is where I fall in. I love what I am doing, seriously love every second of it. It really isn't always easy though. I am but one reader. One male who happens to love reading. Who is to say that I have a good enough opinion to accept or reject a manuscript?

I am super antsy about giving my opinions on books. If you guys read this blog, you will notice that I don't review books I hate. I just won't do it. If I didn't like a book enough to share it with my readers, I'm not going to take the time to write my thoughts on it. That's the mindset I am trying to have with the manuscripts I am reading: if I would review them, it's a yes; if not, it's a no. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

Let's take "Book A" for instance. "Book A" has a gripping plot, enough emotion to bring Ebenezer Scrooge to tears, and an ending that just so happens to be flat out phenomenal. Seriously one of my favorite reads of the year. But then what? Sure I can shout its' praises from the rooftops, but when push comes to shove: is this novel really the next big thing? Probably not. Did I absolutely love every second of it? Yes. Will the masses enjoy it as much as I did? Who can say. Welcome to my dilemma. This gig, or agency life in general, is all about making decisions that will benefit the literary world as a whole. I can't simple push a book through and say yes because I loved it. I have to look at it honestly and through a different lens. "Who will buy this book?" "What will it take to make this book better?" These are questions I have to ask myself after finishing each manuscript. While it may be the greatest thing I've ever read, if I have even an iota of doubt in me that it can be improved upon, I have to say that. As an intern and as a reader/blogger, I owe it to the author to be completely honest. I hate that it comes down to my special brand of brutal honesty, but sometimes it just has to happen.

Want to hear more about my (awkward) brutal honesty? Go ask Sarah about the time I reviewed one of her early manuscripts... *nervously wipes brow* (I still can't believe I got the gig after that one).

So you see, this interning thing isn't all sunshine and lollipops. In fact, it's scary. Author's bleed their hearts and souls into their manuscripts, imagine taking that emotion and knowing you have to turn them down? It sucks, but honestly, who are we helping if we aren't honest? Nobody, that's who. Poor sales, awful reviews. All of these things make not only the author, but the publishers, agents, editors, etc look bad.

What am I getting at here? If you are not 110% sure that your manuscript is the best that it could possibly be, don't waste your (or my) time by sending it in for agency query. Rejection sucks folks, don't set yourself up for a heartbreak. I don't want to break hearts, but if that's what it takes, I don't care to do it. I've had to break out my brutal honesty a few times in my blogging lifetime (KB Nelson, I'm looking at you!), but sometimes that's what it takes!

I'm also learning to be much more selective and honest with Sarah in my thoughts. The first, and most important, thing Sarah taught me when I started working with her was this: "Don't fight the manuscript." Honestly, that's the single greatest piece of advice I have been given. If I have to force my way through a manuscript, it's automatically going to be a no from me. Why make it more painful than it needs to be. There are plenty of other fish in the sea (aka books in the inbox) to filter through, why should I stress over one?

Another great example. Let's call it "Book B" this time. "Book B" is great. The premise is kind of fun, the writing is fantastic, also it's right up my alley. Sounds like a shoo-in, right? You would think. Only issue: the premise for this story has been done so many times. Not only is it overdone, the entire genre has been monopolized upon by the TV and Film industry. Unfortunately, some things just don't work in books. While they may have worked a century ago, in an age where Hollywood has literally taken over our imaginations, I believe some genres just cannot be written about anymore. You have to think folks, how original is my idea? If I read the first chapter of your manuscript and can already find strong correlations to a half dozen films, you're out. Sorry. "Book B" is great, but if I have to use the phrase "didn't I see the movie?" more than once, we obviously have a problem.

What's the lesson here? Scope out the market. Before you spend MONTHS writing a three hundred page novel, search around and make sure someone else hasn't already done it. Seriously. Also, if it sounds that similar to a Hollywood plot line, there's a good change your subconscious had something to do with that. People, beta readers are so important. Find a writing buddy, have a friend proof read for you. Bounce ideas off your dog, just do something. Don't just write and hope nobody notices that your manuscript reads just like a movie that has been made and rebooted three times since 1933. It just doesn't work. You're setting yourself up for another rejection.

Speaking of rejection, did you guys know that my amazing boss-lady Sarah Negovetich just released her debut novel, Rite of Rejection? Go check it out by clicking here.

Okay guys, I'll get off my soapbox, but as you can see, #InternEthan is learning so much! I am so blessed to be working alongside Sarah. I think we make an awesome team! Also, the group over at #TeamCorvisiero is AWESOME! I can't wait to share more info with you guys. As for now, I've got more reading of my own to do! I'll catch back up with you guys next Wednesday on another awesome edition of Wednesdays with #InternEthan!

Until next time, Happy Reading (and Happy Holidays as well)! Enjoy this banner I made of my fur baby being all kinds of photogenic. Isn't Avi awesome?



  1. I really enjoyed this post ERG! I'm glad that your enjoying your intership and learning so much. You gave some great advice! I am going to keep those things in mind before writing a review. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Wooohoo, love! You sound like you're having a BLAST and I am so happy for you! Lots of new things to apply to my own book blogging/reviewing world! <3