Saturday, 28 July 2012

02. 17 Seconds

That’s it! 17 seconds is all you have to convince a publisher or agent to keep reading. 17 seconds to decide whether your novel lands on an editor’s desk or the dreaded slush pile. 17 seconds to prove that your manuscript is the page turner they can’t afford to miss. And to break into the highly competitive world of publishing, we have to make every second count.

Last weekend my hometown played host to several esteemed authors and illustrators for four days of workshops, talks and exhibitions. I had the privilege of attending Jackie French’s workshop. In my opinion, the workshop was over much too quickly, but that’s because of the old adage, ‘time flies when you’re having fun.’

Ms French is a national and internationally acclaimed author of children’s, adult and young adult novels. She is also a down-to-earth, friendly, approachable woman who knows what she’s talking about when it comes to writing.

Her insight regarding the other side of writing – the business of publishing, her willingness to answer questions and her matter-of-fact approach were invaluable snippets to all who attended. The 17 second chance to impress was one of the many gems Ms French shared.

With that reality in mind, I know it will be some time before my manuscripts are ready for submission. I’m still learning my craft,  making mistakes and building my confidence. It’s a reality check that I respect and appreciate.

On a side (ego building) note, Ms French was kind enough to take a 17 second look at one of my manuscripts. Was my manuscript strong enough to get past that first 17 seconds? Well no, not really. I still have some polishing to do. But the compliment that followed her critique had my smile firmly fixed in place for the rest of the day. :)

Baby steps they may be, but at least I feel I’m headed in the right direction.

To find out more about Ms French, please click on the link provided.

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