WRITING: American Idol Advice for Writers

This post might be late all things considered, but I am having a slow March. I’m just putting it out there. I don’t have high expectations for March, and I’m not feeling the crunch of time. Maybe I’m ignoring it, but I am in my own little world, come visit me sometime, I promise it’s nice!

I will make margaritas!

Anyhow, American Idol chose the top 24 recently, we all saw the episodes right? Well for those of us who were not watching, they picked the top 24. If you missed it, I’m sure you saw clips or news articles about Jennifer Lopez breaking down during it, but that’s apparently turning out good for Chris Medina.

Anyhow, they were kicking someone else off, and pardon me for not remembering who it was, but Jennifer Lopez said something that I have heard in the writing world a lot. She said that every time a contestant comes out on stage they have to be amazing. They have to exceed expectations, they have to be the best they can be.

Similarly, in the writing world, we’re always told to lead with our best work. To put our best foot forward, because really, stuffy writing will get us nowhere.

And this is where I began worrying. If I am being completely honest with myself, Surrender is a 4 out of 5 stars. To other book bloggers, that seems pretty good, great even, but that’s not the point.

The point is that an agent, an editor, a publishing house, thought it was a 5 out of 5. They thought it was too good to throw back into the slush pile, they thought it was good enough to work with the author to work out the kinks. They honestly believed in it enough that they took it the next level and put it on shelves across america.

That says something about a book. When there is a team of professionals who believe in the book, the public no longer matters. Much like American Idol, the public doesn’t matter until the voting begins, what matters is the judges. Every literary agent, editor, and publisher is a judge. They’re all looking at your work and deciding if you make it to the next level, if your book gets to be seen and judged by the public.

Thankfully for us writers though, once a book is out there all we can do is hope for the best because we don’t get more chances to impress them. It’s a cutthroat sink or swim world, and publishers will only stick with the ones that are winning. So really, if the public doesn’t vote well for you, you’ll just fade away.

And it’s because of that, and a few other comments from some new readers that I am taking another look at Surrender.

I’m not selling out, I’m selling it to the judges, because frankly, you as the public will never get to read it, if I can’t make the judges love it first.