So, I was a little overzealous in the bidding and ended up winning several auctions from Do The Write Thing For Nashville. But it was for a great cause, and the prizes were pretty awesome. I thought it might be useful to talk about what happened after winning.
In terms of collecting the items, the auction organizers e-mailed me the contact information for each item. Then I send a brief e-mail to the individual who donated the item, she responded with details on how we would do the critiques and the lunch meeting. It really was that easy and seamless. So if anyone worries about how the auction was run, this one was super well organized. 🙂
First off, I won a critique of my young adult manuscript from Tricia Mills. She critiqued my first thirty pages and my synopsis. This was extremely helpful to me. I’d had a few beta readers but none of which were published authors. She pointed out where the transitions were bad in the first few chapters and gave several important examples of how to improve my scenes. Worth every penny I spent. 🙂 The most important take away was that my writing of the manuscript was far better than my synopsis writing. That’s really essential to know because the synopsis is supposed to sell the manuscript. Her comments helped me to improve the synopsis tremendously. I also won 2 signed books from her!
Second off, I won a critique of my young adult manuscript from Lisa Desrochers. She critiqued my first three chapters (50 pages) and my query letter. I’ve been struggling with the query letter. She gave some super helpful insight and showed me how to rework it. When it came to critiquing the manuscript, she was great about pointing out what worked and what didn’t. She was tactful but honest, which meant the manuscript and I both benefited from her feedback. Another wonderful experience. I’m also receiving an ARC and the first 4 chapters of her next book! (After reading the snippet she released on her blog, I’m happily anticipating their arrival!)
Third off, I won a critique of the first 10 pages and the synopsis for my romance novel from a senior editor at Pocket Books, Abby Zidle. When I won this auction item, I had only written 10,000 words of the story. I had a synopsis but it hadn’t gone through as much critique and editing as the other book. I was kind of testing the waters. One of the most important takeaways from this critique was that the synopsis was badly written. But this is good to know because now I can work on it. This is my first foray into romance writing and I also had the genre wrong. Originally, I thought it was romantic suspense, but after reading her comments I realize it’s more of a paranormal romance. She gave honest, straightforward feedback and advice. I am planning to rework the synopsis and first 10 pages in July.
Fourth off, I won a lunch with the amazing Rose Fox, who is a SF/fantasy/horror and mass market reviews editor for Publishers Weekly. I met her at Grand Sichuan, which is a delicious Chinese restaurant. Having received super valuable written critiques and feedback, it was a nice change of pace to sit down with someone and talk about my story, show her a few pages, and have more interactive feedback. I got to pick her brain about potential publishers for my story, what should being included in a one line pitch, and whether my story was young adult or adult (which seems to be the most difficult question about my book). We also talked a little bit about my new paranormal romance story but since that’s still in draft, we focused on my young adult paranormal mystery. Besides sharing some of her awesome knowledge of the publishing industry, she also ordered the most delicious dishes! We had pork soup dumplings, smoke tea duck, and a lamb dish. I left there feeling completely satiated and excited to getting back to work on my novel.
I still have one auction item left, but because of my neck problems I haven’t been able to send in the materials. The agent, who will be giving me feedback, has given me a couple months to get it together. I’m hoping to work on it soon. 🙂
Lastly, I want to say 1000 thank yous to all these people for donating their time and expertise to help out the people of Nashville. And a big thank you to the tireless and dedicated people who ran the auctions. Can’t wait to see the T-shirts!