I’m writing this post from my backyard deck. The breeze warms my toes, but it also ruffles the trees on Old Man Oak Tree. I call him that because he’s like a member of our family. He overlooks my home, my family, and my friends when they visit in a very protective way.
I like Old Man Oak today because of the warming of the toes thing. It’s an 80 degree day, and I know it’s not just the breeze that brings my barefoot toes happiness. It’s his leaves that do the trick too. At around 100 years old, he’s covered with quite a few and his shade is allowing me to write outside today.
But I don’t always like Old Man Oak. Some days he drops so many acorns, I have to take cover. Acorns can really leave a dent when dropped by a squirrel from way up there! Other days he drops this brown stuff. I’m not quite sure what it is. It looks like snow but then bunches together into clumps. In the middle of spring I sweep the driveway and the deck more than I vacuum the inside of my house! Just last Friday, on my daughters prom day, I swept four times before the festivities began. I mean Old Man Oak may be LIKE a member of our family, but I certainly didn’t want to see his mess in the pictures, only his beautiful trunk and bright green leaves! Hey, we all have our faults, but must we flaunt them?
Some people I know would hate my oak tree. Like I said, he makes a giant mess, and I get it. I cursed him more than once on prom day. But other people I know would love to have my oak tree in their yard. He is, after all, pretty stately and all that.
And that got me thinking about my manuscript. Will anyone like it? I mean, I like it obviously or I wouldn’t have written it. My critique partners like it. My beta readers like it. But I know that doesn’t mean that agents will like it. And even if one does like it enough to offer representation, that doesn’t mean that editors will like it enough to buy it. And if by chance this manuscript does get published will my readers like it?
That’s a whole lot of will they like it?.
In a world full of selfies and likes on Instagram, it’s easy to get caught up in the popularity contest. We remember high school, yes? I’m guilty of it too. Just today I discovered a twitter pitch opportunity to attract the attention of agents under the hashtag #KidPit. I hadn’t prepared myself for this but I didn’t have anything to lose so I threw a series of pitches for my MG into the mix hoping to get some favorites. I didn’t have much luck. So I spent a lot of the day sulking and wondering why participating agents didn’t like my pitch.
Why don’t they want to read my book? But then I looked out at Old Man Oak. Not everyone likes him either.
When the time is right, the right agent will want to read my ms. The right editor will buy it. The most awesome readers will read it. And then I won’t even mind sweeping up after Old Man Oak. I have done some of my best writing and revising under his watch.
So when you start to doubt that anyone will like your story, think of your own Old Man Oak and keep writing and revising. If you like your story, I mean really like your story, then someone else is sure to like it too. No Instagram required!