That stands for Insecure Writer's Support Group. It is the first Wednesday of every month, of course, and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex Cavanaugh. ::Cheers::
This is where we, as writers, stand up and either whimper about our insecurities or try to give helpful advice.
Well, I have whimpered a lot in the past couple of weeks and so last time I went with being supportive. Sorry for scaring the pants off of some of you. Not my intention, was trying to be helpful. Hehe!
I'm going to try and give it another shot here.
Writing is hard as hell. I know, yet again not a great way to be supportive or give good advice, right? But bear with me.
We write, we edit, we polish and wipe the sweat from our brows. We repeat the processes over and over til we just know we have it right. We start shopping around for an agent or publisher and submit our work. Rejection seems to come in droves.
How many of us follow the rules of the person or place we're submitting to? Do you read the guidelines and sort of gloss over what they are asking for? Do you look at your manuscript and shrug and say, "Eh. It'll do."?
I hope not. But, there are those out there who don't do the research necessary to the agent or publisher. And this is the supportive part.
Do yourself the favor of doing the research of what each individual wants. Modify things to form what each agent is asking for or how the publisher would like you to submit your work.
A few examples: Tor Books ~ These were the FAQs for submitting to Tor Books. They want things done a particular way, just like Penguin/Daw Books do. While Tor wants the first three chapters, nothing more than 40-60 pages or less than 10,000 words, Penguin wants the entire manuscript with a cover letter. Tor wants a dated cover letter AND synopsis of the entire book. Penguin doesn't mention a synopsis and wants you to mail the entire MS, unbound, no electronic submissions allowed. Tor wants a physical copy as well. 7 Realms Publishing only accepts submissions by invitation.
Of course, these are all fantasy places and all places I researched for submission purposes. But you get my point. You can't just create a generic package and expect everyone to want the same thing. I suppose it is different for agents, but even the few agents I scouted out all wanted different things as well. Different word count synopsis, cover letter, no cover letter... You have to tweak your submission package as much as you have to tweak your writing in the editing stages.
If you do your homework/research and send EXACTLY what people are asking for, you may get farther than just a simple form rejection. I've been rejected by Tor, (But that was before editing...) didn't even get my foot in the door with 7 Realms, chickened out on sending to Penguin until I got things polished up... rejected, rejected... and this was all before I started blogging or even knew what the hell I was doing. So I went about things a little backwards... meh. Story of my life. Now, however, I know and understand the importance of each and every hoop we jump through to get published and just how much RESEARCH affects our chances of moving forward.
Now, go get 'em!