Monday, December 26, 2011

Inkpop, Rejection, and my HarperCollins review

Exactly two years ago this week, I made a decision that changed my life. I joined a site called inkpop.

For those of you who don't know how inkpop works, it's kind of like American Idol for writers. You post your work, people vote or "pick" it, and it rises up the charts. At the end of the month, the top 5 picks get a review from a HarperCollins editor. (REALLY cool... how often do you get to have a real live breathing editor review your work before it's query ready?)

At this point, I had the first ten thousands words of Shadow Watchers written and decided to upload it onto inkpop to see how it was received by teens.

My story rocketed. I was floored. Within two weeks, it shot to the number one spot and stayed there for the remainder of the month. Usually it took months to get into the top five, if that. And that's if you knew how to work it.

When my review from HarperCollins came in, I was sick. Sure, I had fooled teens to like my work *winks* but what about a Harper editor?

It ended up being a great review. And I took the advice whole-heartedly. A little too heartedly as you'll see below.

Part of my advice was and I quote: "There can be a fine line between intriguing readers and frustrating them by doling out too little information." This was in response to the editor saying there was not enough  answers being given up front. Great advice. I needed to hear it.

But I went overboard. I grasped onto this advice like a dying man in need of water. (Who wouldn't?) This became clear when the feedback coming in from agents was that the action never stopped. That I didn't slow down enough for the reader to take in the setting and catch up. Funny huh? Note to self: Find balance. 

Right after my review is when I believe I lost sense of my story--when I began to lose "that feeling" I wanted to surround my words. Because I was writing to appease advice I was given instead of what I knew was right deep down. And I won't expand further, because I've already done a post on this here. 


But it's okay. Because now it's clicked. I don't regret any advice I've taken and I don't feel remorse for a single rejection I've received. <-------and it's taken quite a bit for me to get here. But I am finally where I need to be. I'm in the part of the V for Vendetta when Natalie Portman is standing in the rain, crying, lifting her arms to the sky because she isn't afraid anymore.

I'm not afraid anymore. I'm not afraid of rejection.

As Herald Angus Penn (inkpop buddy, aka Ryan Greenspan) once told me, "It makes us stronger, doesn't it?"

I'm glad I'm not there yet. I'm going to enjoy the refiners fire. Because if I had had an easy "success" story, I wouldn't have learned that the success I needed first was conquering fear of rejection--not getting agent, getting published, or letting my friends down.

And why was it that I joined inkpop in the first place? To see how my work would be received. I ended up getting so much more. I've connected with the world's best breed of people, aligned myself with the most talented beta readers, and most importantly, made friendships that go far beyond the writing world.

Red. Head. Out. :D

18 comments:

  1. Amen to this!!! And I have that same heartfelt appreciation for my time on inkpop. I learned so much on there.

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  2. You definitely captured my feelings about inkpop. I never thought I would get such a tightly-knit support group out of it, let alone friends.

    The key to perservering, I think, is to get that pesky thought out of our minds that rejection is the validation that we suck. Even for the very terrible writer (okay well, maybe not for the MOST terrible), rejection should only be an invitation to get better and try again. All rejection should do is validate that our passion is writing, that writing is our calling. If it doesn't, then it isn't.

    PS. Wow, what an all-star lineup that month's top 5 was!!

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  3. Wow.

    Great story :D

    I've met SO many amazing people online, and I've never put anything on inkpop, but if I remember right, it's what got Wendy Higgins her book deal.

    Cool.

    (nothing new on my blog, btw)

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  4. Great post! I've been considering if/when to do the inkpop thing, so this gave me some much-needed perspective. Thanks, Morgan!

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  5. Inkpop is a much different place now though. There are better options out there IMO.

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  6. I agree that inkpop isn't what is was back in "our day" when Ryan and I ruled the trendsetter charts, lol, and truth is I'd never do anything like it again, but it was one of the best decisions I made for that time ;)

    And I too am shocked by the caliber of friends I've found online!

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  8. Idk... are you sure writers are the best breed of people? I think you should get to know my dog-breeding crowd.

    Nose job? Where did that come from?!! (When I was a lot younger I knew that God probably wouldn't shrink my nose, so I remember praying that my face would grow into it... not sure which is better -a big nose or a whole big face, but I think your nose is lovely, so I hope you now do too!) lol

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  9. BTW, that comment that I deleted wasn't a mean slam on your nose or anything. I had some grammar to fix and didn't realize it would leave such a dramatic explanation of my deleted post. :)

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  10. LOL, Kris!!!!! I like my nose just fine...after I got the work done anyway... *winks* And I'm seriously LAUGHING at your dog breeding comment!!!!!!

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  11. Balance is the hardest thing ever. Glad you've found your peace.

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  12. Your posts are always so insightful! You rock.

    Ane yep, I'm a former Inkpop girl. I learned a TON from my review. I value that advicne so much.

    And I made some INCREDIBLE friends :)

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  13. I love this post. I didn't really know what Inkpop was. I knew it was a place where writers write stuff.. <--- I'm so brilliant to have come to that assumption... bask in my brilliance. lol

    I'm not a writer, I will never be a writer. I remember when I was young I tried to write.. but I was more concerned with everyones hair and eye color.. that's as far as the story went.

    I'm so glad your at a place where your comfortable now. I know the rejection can be hard.. I have seen a good friend of mine go through all that time and time again.. Still.. the waiting, the nail biting.. all that jazz. though I don't write, I can relate to the online friends. I never thought I would connect with so many other bloggers and authors when I started.. it's been so great. :)

    In other news, I had a nose job a year ago.. Holy crap does it hurt when they pull that stuffing out.. *shudders* unfortunately it was for my sinus's, not to look glamorous or anything. I wear sequens when i want to be glamorous. #notreally

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  14. You are my hero! Enough said... Nope! I love ya, girl!

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  15. Being the newbie writer, I've never even heard of inkpop (and all other versions of the name I've shared with Morgan!) :D I'm grateful you wrote about it, because it's making me open my eyes to something new I can give a shot at. Thanks!

    And, as "they" say, what doesn't kill you, physically, mentally or emotionally, makes you stronger.

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  16. How awesome to get to the number one spot so quickly! Go you! (and, ahem, I hadn't even heard of inkpop until recently!)

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  17. I think that maybe aspiring writers focus too much on what editors and agents want, and not enough on what makes for a good story with good writing.

    We just want to be told what to do and forget the importance of discovering it for ourselves, maybe.

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