As a writer, how do you know when a DNR order should be given to your manuscript?
It’s a hard, hard decision. Many hours, weeks and months, maybe even years have gone into it. Revisions and edits. Beta-readers and more edits. That’s a lot of work and determination and I know, a lot of love also. It’s a whole new part of you.
Eventually you feel your manuscript is capable of standing on its own in front of agents, so send it tentatively out into the world of query land. You get rejections. You revise some more and send further queries out. Rejections again. Maybe you attempt to get some more feedback from somewhere before another round of queries, but all that you get is rejection. There may be a full manuscript request in there, but it still fails to bring that elusive offer of representation.
What next. Self publish?
You really have to look at your work now, even harder, and with a tougher critical eye. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t be sending our your very best work to an agent, but self published, it’s not going to go through a whole gamut of professionals who work with books day in, day out who could polish your manuscript into a gleaming pile of words akin to a beauty makeover. This is you and your work. This is the work that people are going to judge and boy, they aren’t afraid to judge. Just take a look at Amazon reviews.
So now, you really have to decide if the professionals in the business just didn’t like it and you maybe didn’t hit the right one, after all, it is a subjective business, or if it genuinely isn’t up to scratch yet. I know several authors whose first works are still in their drawers, never to see the light of day. But with the advent of Amazons self publishing capabilities putting your mauscript away into the top drawer seems to be an option that is being given less and less consideration.
Very often if you read a published authors work, you will be able to recognise the improvement in the second novel, to the first, and these are novels that made it into the world.
So, I think we should stop and think before we rush for the self publish button. I will stop and think before I go towards it. Have our manuscripts been rejected because of reasons that are acceptable to us; the agent didn’t love it enough, the agent was too busy and couldn’t do it justice, it just wasn’t the kind of thing the agent liked. Or. Does our manuscript need a DNR and placing in that top drawer and our time placed on the next work in progress which may make it out into the world and in a condition we are more proud of, than we think we currently are now?
A tough decision, but one I’m sure many writers wish they had considered and also many readers!