At this moment, I am starting work on my fourth book–when my second is not even on the shelves yet. I am very, very excited about this book.
This is the problem. I am always excited about books when the idea is new and fresh in my head. I am so excited, that often I fail to realize when the idea is utterly stupid. Which, sometimes, it is. I have to write part of it, and then my editor and/or my agent will read it, and they will tell me if I am insane.
(Technically, nobody needs to tell me that–I am perfectly aware of it already.) This idea I have is either utter genius or complete lunacy, and I rely on my editor and agent to tell me which one it is. (And sometimes, they say Really Important Things like, “This is not a bad idea, but don’t you think it would be a good idea to make your hero more proactive?” And I listen, because while I am a lunatic, my editor and agent are both geniuses.)
This is rather unfair to new authors, because they do not usually get editors and agents to tell them if their ideas are crazy.
Every year, however, around this time, Brenda Novak holds an auction to benefit diabetes research. My uncle died of complications arising out of diabetes, and this cause means a great deal to me. Which is why I am pleased to point out that if you fear that you are a lunatic, there are some very awesome auctions you can bid on.
Namely, you can get Kristin Nelson, my genius agent, to read the first 30 pages of your manuscript. She won’t actually say “that’s completely crazy” because she is not only a genius, but she is nice–but she is honest, thorough, and very, very smart. I can’t imagine the value of that.
You can also get my genius editor, Margo Lipschultz, to read the first three chapters of your manuscript and then talk to you on the phone about it.
While I’m here, I should mention that back in the days when I was unpublished, I bid on a critique from a published author that I really respected. Her name–which all of you assuredly know–is Anna Campbell. She’s a relatively new name in historical fiction, but a rising star who writes dark, deeply emotional historical romance. She is also a truly amazing critiquer. She read the first bit of a book that has never seen the light of publishing, and gave me some advice that really just nailed what was wrong with my writing. It was the best two-hundred-something bucks I ever spent on anything in publishing, and it is a crying shame that the exact same auction today is only at $145 today. That is a complete steal, people!
Along those lines, Ann Aguirre/Ava Gray (who is also half of Ellen Connor) is offering a critique of 100 pages of a book. I think Ann/Ava/0.5Ellen is one of the best up-and-coming authors there is, and she is relentless in her pursuit of excellence.
Finally, I have a critique up for auction on 50 pages. I know. You are thinking, “But Courtney. You have already admitted you are crazy. Why on earth would I want you to critique my manuscript?” To which I say–it often helps to have crazy people read your manuscripts! They see things sane people miss.
There are lots and lots of other great things up for auction–more editors and more agents and more authors offering critiques, signed books, advance copies…. I am bidding on some of them.