Working for a publisher has not only been a fantastic learning experience, but it's also let me see the inner parts of this so called....book extravaganza!
Now, as an author myself it's so hard to put yourself out there. It's terrible to file through the rejections and getting told No after No. Hoping someone will just finally understand. They'll see the Brilliance in this novel. They'll see the Genius part of what you are trying to display to the world. Why can't they see it?
1. Your concept might be brilliant, it might even be so fantastic everyone should want it, but it's being done or has been done by 25 different authors before you. It's unique but not unique enough. (Hey it happens)
2. Your work has some flaws that you fail to see as flaws. Timeline's off. Maybe an element or two contradict what you're trying to say. Whatever it may be, they may be little and easily fixable but if these flaws start popping up anywhere in the first 30 to 75 pages. Trust me, someone is seeing it and marking it.
3. NEVER ASSUME that just because most of your Cp's skim read, that all editors do. They don't. So, Proof Read! Proof Read! PROOF READ! (Line for Line) It might take you a week, but would you rather spend a week making sure you have all the right words then sending it and getting it rejected for sheer laziness? (Remember, even though you didn't promise it was perfect, you submitting it means you are making that promise. If it isn't well, you just broke that promise.)
These are just some of the things that might be holding you back. I read MS's daily, and for me:
Characters must sound like themselves- meaning: If it's a boy's voice Please for the love of it make it sound like a boy speaking not a chick. If it's a chick- make her sound like a chick not a dude. Yes, there is tomboy's but guess what? THEY STILL SOUND LIKE CHICKS! They have emotional barrier issues. They still have crushes. Use it. Also- If it's a teen voice in Present day, Then you need to write it as such and not as someone from the 70's. Study them. Their crazy language and slang.
Adults- make them sound like an adult not like a young hipster straight out of high school. Don't make them too sophisticated and then dull them down. It's one or the other.
Middle grade- They aren't childish babies in kindergarten but they aren't young adults yet. You've got a happy medium. Think of it as the awkward stage between kid to teen.
Settings- Is it something I can see? Want to be? Don't flood me with descriptions but give me something.
Would I want to read more? The first chapter is probably the biggest key, because you have to hook me. If your concept is awesome, cool, but I don't read that. I'm reading your chapters so, I'm walking in blind. HOOK ME! Don't give me a chapter that leads me to no where. Don't give me a chapter that leaves me confused. I want to care about what's happening, I want to know a little of what's going on, and I want to be left with a want of oh man, I need to read more.
Never be afraid of your opening.
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