April 13, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue
I’m a writing newb.
I finished Murphy’s First Law a month ago. But I didn’t, not really. I know that I need revisions.
I’d like to think I’m a newb not a noob, and there is apparently an important distinction between the two (see Urban Dictionary: noob). Both are critters new to and inept at given task, although I’m most familiar with this term used in the context of gaming.
The difference is that newbs know they’re rookies and want to improve their craft. Noobs think they’re all that and a bag of chips in spite of any evidence to the contrary. I’d love to believe that I pulled off the perfect novel on my first try and that I can publish it, receive accolades, and watch the cash roll in. I may be delusional, but I’m not that delusional. In fact, I’m still terrified I’m a noob and unaware of just how much work my noobvel still needs.
Scott D. Southard’s recent post entitled Writers, why does everything have to be a series? shook up all my insecurities again with this passage:
“I’ve noticed two prevalent mistakes that occur often in the first book in a series.
- Since the writer is setting up so much material for the series, it can be drowned in explanations and conversations.
- There is little payoff in the ending since the writer is saving their “big punches” for later books.”
EEEP! I’m writing the first book in a series! Am I guilty of those things? How can I find out? How can I fix it? How can I prevent myself from showing the world just how much of a noob I am?
I’ve spent tons of time proofreading and editing and doing minor revisions, but I just can’t shake the feeling it’s not there yet. So, what’s a newb to do? Well, I am working with a couple of critique partners, but I want to go further.
I discovered this site a few weeks ago while researching for my post Finding Feedback: Constructive Critique Does Exist. Authonomy is a site hosted by Harper Collins Publishing as a way to find new talent. Writers can post their manuscripts, partial or full, and receive feedback and rankings from readers and other authors. The idea of having a ready-made pool of people who could provide valuable feedback is awesome, even better: Harper Collins reads the highest ranked projects on the site each month!
The problem is that the idea of posting my noobvel on this site terrifies me. Posting my manuscript out there for the world to see and critique sounds a whole lot like jumping naked through burning hoops while covered in gasoline. And as any halfway decent gamer knows, standing in fire is hazardous to your health and a sure sign that you are, in fact, a noob.
Fine, Garth! I’ll do it, stop with the guilt-tripping already!
So, I put on my big girl panties, steeled myself in preparation for the onslaught (ie: invested in large quantities of tequila and chocolate), and registered for Authonomy.com. I can do this. I can put my noobvel up there, take the feedback (good and bad), and use it to make my book better.
Five minutes later: Houston, we have a problem.
To upload on Authonomy, you need cover art. Yes, it is required.
So, I spent the next several hours hunting for some pre-made cover art to use as a stand-in until I’m ready to take the full plunge and hire an artist. If my book was full-blown romance, I’d have plenty of options to choose from, but it’s not and I can’t find anything out there that remotely works with my concept.
So, now this noob has another dilemma. Should I take the plunge and hire a cover artist? I admit that I really would like to have a header for my blog page and Facebook with a tie-in to my novel. So, I scrounged around a bit trying to locate custom cover artists, but was disappointed at the small number of results my search through Google provided and really nervous about hiring someone over the interwebs without references or recommendations. I came this close to hiring two separate artists and finally chickened out on both of them, mostly because they were the only two I could find with halfway decent websites.