No one ever said writing a book was easy. If it was, the market would be a million times more competitive with people trying to get an agent or self-publishing.
To really become an author, in my opinion, you’ve got to have three things:
1) A good story idea
2) The tenacity to sit down and actually develop (and finish) said idea
3) Dragon-thick skin
Why dragon-thick skin? Well because writing a book is not entirely a solitary process. In order to develop something that can truly go to market, you should have beta readers and critique partners help you polish your story.
Now let me be clear, I’ve interviewed many people who have submitted to (and signed with) an agent, and have never shared a line of their work with anyone else. I admire these people for being able to put their work out there without having another soul look at it. Personally, I could never do it. The reason why is simple: sometimes no matter how many edits I do, I can’t see the glaring errors. Issues with continuity or characterization can be staring me right in the face, but I don’t see it. I chalk it up to being too close to my work. This is the reason why I need others to read for me. They catch where I need to tighten my prose or where my plot may be lacking.
In all honesty, I understand people’s hesitation with using beta readers or critique partners. Putting your work out there makes you vulnerable. By allowing someone to read your words, you’re opening yourself up for both feedback, and sometimes in not so great circumstances, criticism. This is where the dragon-thick skin comes in. Some feedback will be waaaay off base, while other critiques will hit at the heart of what is NOT working in your story. You have to be open to accept both when you share your work. And developing this shell of armor doesn’t end when you get an agent or even become published. There will still be critics who take issue with your work. The thing to remember is this: it’s your story to tell. Everyone has their own vision for how your work should read, but only you have the words within you to create a masterpiece.
So if you really want to share your work, which I highly recommend, be prepared to put on your big boy/girl pants and take both the positive and negative feedback. It’s part of the job, but it can also make your manuscript shine!