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Why Wasn't I Chosen?: An Open Edit Letter (Part V)

Dear Swoon Writers,

After every season, Holly, Emily and I sit down and talk about all the manuscripts we’ve read. We discuss the things we loved as well as the reasons why we may not have selected certain manuscripts. We make a list, and Holly writes an open edit letter (see Parts I, II, III, and IV). We go through every last thing we can think of to help you make your writing stronger. When putting together these edit letters, our hope is that we can give you a bit of guidance, and that eventually you will revise and resubmit your manuscript.

What you may not realize when reading these letters is how much we are rooting for you. Publishing may seem mysterious to some, but honestly, we are just a group of people who LOVE books. As we sat down this season to compile our “list of reasons”, we all gave a collective sigh. We’ve created endless lists of things you can do to improve your writing, but what we really want to say is don’t give up. Just keep on writing. Keep on revising. Keep on trying. And since I am a person that responds better to positive reinforcement, I want to remind you of all of the things you are doing right. You may have a bit further to go, but I’m a glass half full kind of gal. Here are all of the things you have done already:

  1. You’re writing what you love! This is SO important. We are seeing fresh ideas that haven’t been done before. Or sometimes, things that have been done before but in a way that makes us fall in love with it all over again. Your passion shows.
  2. You’ve FINISHED something. This is not easy! We are constantly being asked if we can take partial manuscripts. Our answer is always no, because we need to see the full story before we decide to publish it. But once you finish it, you have something to work with. The fact that you put in the time and dedication to get there shows that you can write a book. Don’t stop. Keep going!
  3. You make us laugh, cry, smile and swoon. There is SOMETHING in every book we read that we love. It absolutely KILLS us when we love a set of characters, but because it has such a huge cliffhanger we don’t know the full story or whether we can fix it. Or when you have a great plot but the characters need to be fleshed out more. The list goes on. Yes it needs a fix (and perhaps too big for us to acquire), but we also see something good in what you’ve written. Enough to make us write entire blog posts in hopes that the cosmic forces will send inspiration your way. You can’t see us, but we’re cheering you on.
  4. You’ve invited feedback. If you are on Swoon Reads, you’ve recognized the value of sharing your work. Yes, I know that all of you are here because you want to be published. But it also makes you brave. Because sharing your work and putting it out there for the world to see and judge something you created is hard. But listening to feedback is a step every writer needs to take. It can only make your book stronger.

So really, the point of this is, don’t give up. I want to tell you how happy I am to come to work everyday to work with authors that didn’t give up and shared their wonderful stories with us. I want to tell you how much I admire you for being brave enough to share your manuscript on Swoon Reads. You are a warm, funny, kind, smart group of people. I love seeing you support one another and form friendships. Every author has a different journey but the one thing they share is that they kept trying. I hope you do the same. Thank you for sharing your work with us. 

Author spotlight

Lauren Scobell

Director of Swoon Reads!

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