I’m writing about subjectivity today. Yeah, that old chestnut. What one person sees, the next doesn't. They see something entirely different.
I recently wrote a picture book; an idea I’ve been playing with for a long time. It hit the page pretty naturally without many hiccups, and I was pleased with it. So, I sent it off to a handful of trusted beta readers, listened to their feedback and made some edits. I then sent it back to some different betas, and repeated the process. I took the plunge and entered the manuscript into a competition. I didn’t win, but I didn’t expect to. My main reason for entering was for the manuscript assessment provided to all entrants. And it was this feedback that made me stop and analyse all that I’d received so far. I put all the comments into one document so I could look for any patterns, and you know what? There weren’t any. Apart from the suggestion to change a couple of word choices, as far as the plot and characters, writing style, voice and execution were concerned, every single reader had something different to say.
Something a little like this:
You might not think this unusual or maybe it’s something you’ve experienced, but for my writing career so far, it is a new one. I’m no stranger to subjectivity, and actually a huge fan of it. Differing tastes is what makes the book industry such a fabulous one to be involved in. Who knows what the next bestseller will be? No one. But it has made me think with regards to edits I make to my work. As I said, I always look for patterns in feedback as this indicates an area that needs improvement. But otherwise I go with my gut. So, I’ve taken another plunge and subbed it out to a couple of agents. The likelihood is it’ll be rejected; and I’m not being pessimistic. Well, maybe I am a bit! And after that, I don’t know what I’ll do. I mean, I just don’t know what areas to improve upon.
If you can offer me any guidance here, anything at all, please go ahead. Or if this has happened to you, please do let me know how you dealt with it. I love this picture book, and I want it to be perfect. I want it to be published.