Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reading

Many of you have noticed that I volunteer to be a beta reader for many of your stories, if you put a request out I will usually take you up on it. This not by accident or or always for your benefit. It stems from my college days. Back then as a complete unknown, internet unknown or in its infancy, type writer you had one option for submission- postal service.

Needless to say, if you spend a lot of money on stamps you are going to send out to only good paying markets and I didn't really know of any FLT markets. I am sure they were out there, but they at least paid in copy. Stick with me, this is going somewhere. You edited and proofread and if you thought it was junk there was no way you were going to waste the stamp on it. Needless to say I got a lot of rejections and remained an unpublished writer. My circle of writer friends all went their separate ways after college and, while I keep in touch with a couple of professors, it isn't quite the same. They had all been published, in prestigious magazines and most had won awards for their work. I missed reading other peoples work, both in the classroom and for the literary magazine (now defunct) that the college ran. It was a good time and it gave me a chance to see how I stacked up to what else was being put out in the market.

Flash forward to today, I am now published. Granted I have never had a story in Redbook or Playboy like my professors had but I have been published. In the meantime I missed the thing that college gave me. I missed seeing 'what else was out there.'

Here come the read requests. You betcha I will read what you send me. While I consider each and every one of you my friends, you are also competition (it is a friendly game). We are all vying for the valuable spaces that the magazines allot. I celebrate your victories and mourn your losses. It is all part of it. I like to think that by reading your unpublished works it is making me a better writer. I like to pick apart, see where I would change something, what I would cut out and where I would add. It is part of my training. So go on, send me your unpublished works jeyberg74 @ gmail.com (take out the spaces). Let me rip them apart. Don't take it personally- I am training for a marathon here.

Just a warning, I will read everything that comes my way. It may take me a couple of days to get to it. :)

10 comments:

Aaron Polson said...

Oooo...I love the marathon analogy. My wife used that one on me when I started writing (and whining about rejection).

Jamie Eyberg said...

It took me ten years AFTER my degree in creative writing to get published. I don't consider this to be a sprint.

Catherine J Gardner said...

I can see your inbox filling up pretty fast.

Jamie Eyberg said...

Cate- I've got two sitting in there right now. I should print them off while I am thinking of it.

Natalie L. Sin said...

In college I wanted to work for Wrestling magazines ; )

This did not endear me to the other journalism majors.

Jamie Eyberg said...

Nat- you didn't happen to be a follower of Capt'n Lou were you?

Natalie L. Sin said...

Undertaker, all the way.

K.C. Shaw said...

Critiquing others' stories is a great way to improve one's own writing, too.

I majored in English, but I knew I was going to be a writer. It only took 16 years after I graduated before I made my first fiction sale!

Danielle Ferries said...

Very cool of you indeed.

BT said...

Totally agree with everything you've said here - including the marathon analogy.

I'll admit to being very similar. But rather than a huge cattle call, I'm happier to get to know the people and then pick and choose who I work with.

I've read for a few of our little online group and sent my own stuff to at least one of you on more than one occasion. I've meet others through writing groups and cultivated friendships to the point where I was comfortable offering an informal sounding board.

I currently have 5 individuals who have said they are happy to give comment on my work, and who I trust enough to let do so. Not sure I'd want more than that...maybe one or three more but I'm keeping that close to my chest in case it doesn't pan out as I see it.

Sound sneaky and manipulative? Probably but it's done with the best of intentions, as Jamie has pointed out. I believe I have something to offer to help others improve their craft, and if they happen to help me with mine in return, and they do - often - then it can only be win-win.

Critters is too big. Absolute Write is also huge. A couple of others are two small or too formal in their requirements of my time. I'd love to one day see this little group of a dozen or so writers pull something together for our own writing group one day. Until then I love working with my current 5 readers - they mean the world to me. And I'm a better writer because of these relationships.