Are you ready to bare your soul (or at least a small poetic chunk of it) to the world (by world, I of course mean readers) and have it torn apart into little bloody pieces? By which I mean, little bloody pieces.
Ready to admit where your writing has failed, ready to break your novel down in order to build it back up? Are you?
Good. You're ready to have someone beta your novel. Yes, I know you're the only one who's seen it (aside from your mother/sister/husband/dog, and Lord knows they loved it), and it's not 100% the novel it can be yet.
But guess what? It never will be without proper feedback, and while there are certainly exceptions, that's something your mother/sister/husband/dog can't always give. My turtle loves my urban fantasy just the way it is, but I think she's just being polite. And frankly, she doesn't know a lot about character arcs or what agents are looking for in voice.
There is help. Form a critique group, whether online or in your town/dorm. Search out forums online that allow you to critique others, like Absolute Write Water Cooler or the Query Tracker Forum. Then there's Roni's Beta Club posts every Tuesday and Thursday at her Fiction Groupie blog. Psych yourself up to get your own work critiqued by critiquing others first. Who knows, that might help you apply what you've learned to your own work. Awesome, but still no substitute for having a good beta reader or critique partner.
Do you really want the first person who reads your work with an analytical eye to be a literary agent? Talk about failure.
The interwebs have given us something amazing, something unheard of until recent years: a global network of writers, authors, literary agents, and other publishing professionals. If you're not using the tools that technology has provided, (except Twitter and Facebook. I'm convinced those are tools of the devil. ;D) you're quickly falling behind in the game. And you don't want that, do you? Didn't think so.
“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ~George Orwell
I'm a YA writer who delves into urban fantasy, paranormal and romance, and who loves reading good books almost as much as writing them.
When not writing—or working—I enjoy daydreaming, drinking tea, and walking in cemeteries. I used to spend the rest of my time checking my inbox for manuscript requests, but am now proudly represented by Rosemary Stimola, of Stimola Literary Studio.