I finished my first novel last year, an accomplishment I never thought I'd see. I didn't set out to be a writer. It sounds pompous now, but I read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and thought, "I wonder if I could that." Turns out I could!
Ok, maybe I haven't written the next Twilight series, but I did finish my novel. And it's good. But I am a new writer and I needed to get some input, to learn how to edit, find out what was working and what wasn't. So I signed up for Authonomy and have received comments on Between from over 200 people. It's helped me to recognize trends and edit accordingly.
The book has been through a great deal of polishing (if you count blood, sweat and tears as polishing!) and is better now than it was when I first "finished" it last year.
Still, there is much to learn about the publishing industry for a newbie such as myself, so I have been actively reading agent and editor blogs to immerse myself in that world. The most helpful blog I've come across lately is Janet Reid's Query Shark. I plan to send her my query and let her sink her teeth into it. Lord knows, the more specific feedback, the better!
I've had to grow some thick skin through this process, but I've learned lessons I would not have had I received a "Yes, please!" from the first agent I queried. So when Between hits the shelves, the readers will be the lucky recipients of the lessons learned along the way.