After years of hypothetical (perhaps literal) blood, sweat, and tears, you finished your book. Did some editing, slapped a cover on it, released it to the world. And got crickets. Your mom bought a copy. A few of her friends bought copies. You got some lovely (if unhelpful) 5-star reviews about how wonderful you are with no mention of the book you worked so hard on. It’s been months, and every time you check up on your baby, all you do is cringe at that 1-star review from someone who didn’t finish because “I couldn’t get past chapter one.”
When I was in my late twenties, I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia (relevant, stay with me). After much trial and error, it broke down to a buildup of toxins in my body that I had dutifully ignored until they got to be so much that they interfered with everything. I was struck by the thought that if I’d just listened to my body sooner, the whole thing could have been avoided.
Imagine the moment I realized the same principle could apply to manuscripts: Listen to what they’re saying, and it’s amazing what comes to light.
An MFA and nearly 10 years of book reviewing/evaluating later, I’m not just an editor. I’m a story whisperer—I chat with your manuscript, figure out what it wants, and start a conversation between you, me, and the book with the end goal of bringing out your story’s glory.
During my senior year of college, I abruptly decided that I didn’t want to be a psychology major, after all. I wanted to write. Terrible timing. Despite this revelation, I graduated with my B.A. and began hunting for graduate-level writing degrees. Enter Seton Hill’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. I could get a masters level education in fantasy fiction? Sign me up! I applied, got accepted, and sent in 10 pages of my self-proclaimed “amazing fantasy novel” to get feedback on at my roundtable critique session. I wasn’t worried. My writing was fantastic. I mean, I got into the program, so I had to be great, right?
Oh, so wrong.
I sat in that critique session while 15 people handed my butt to me on a silver platter.
- “I don’t care about these characters.”
- “You’re head-hopping all over the place, and I lost interest on page 2.”
- “This reads like someone’s Dungeons and Dragons campaign.”
Did I cry later? You bet I did. But after the tears, understanding came. Okay, I wasn’t the prodigy I thought I was. But I had potential. I could improve.
And I did.
I worked my butt off that first semester to understand everything I was doing that made people lose interest in my story. When my second roundtable critique came around at the beginning of semester two, the comments were glowing. Someone who’d been in my critique group last semester commended me on my leaps of progress. I still had work to do, but if I could learn this much in one semester, the sky was the limit.
Kit ‘N Kabookle came shortly after. I’d found my love—genre fiction—and I wanted to get as involved with that love as possible. This site started as a book blog for hosting virtual book tours/promoting authors. After almost ten years, the promotion is still going strong, and I’ve expanded into editing to do even more of what I love. When you’re ready, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s get whispering. I also invite you to join Writelight, the newsletter that puts a little writing light in your inbox once a month