Earlier this year I signed with a new agent in the hopes of finding a home for my latest young adult novel, a paranormal offering. For those of you who know me or have read any of my work, you know this is a stretch beyond my norm. However, the agent and his reader really seemed to like it and both felt it could find a place in the market.
The market though is such a fickle thing. Having been a writer for so many years, I know all about the ups and downs and turns in trends. When I wrote my paranormal young adult novel, I wasn’t trying to follow an industry trend hoping to ride the coat tails of those before me. I don’t write with that objective, nor do I like to pigeonhole myself into one genre. While it’s true I lean more toward romantic realism, I’ve been known to pen other genres too. I write the story that comes to me.
Even if I was trying to capitalize on an industry trend, it seems I’m too late. The gist of the feedback my agent has been getting is that paranormal is out. Publishers want realism. I couldn’t have been more delighted to hear that since realism is smack dab in the center of my comfort zone. I sent my agent a summary of some of the realistic novels I’d written and he asked for two of them, which he promptly sent back telling me to polish them up a bit.
After spending weeks chained to my computer doing round after round of tireless editing, I sent off the final product of the first book with my confidence riding high. Last night, my confidence came crashing to the ground in grand fashion in the form of an email from the agency. I won’t go into the gory details, but the summary is that most of my characters lack definition and seem superficial while my protagonist is too insightful with no apparent reason to be so.
This isn’t the first time my work wasn’t received in the way I’d hoped. For some reason, this time bothered me more than others before it. Maybe because I’ve been at this for so long or maybe because I felt so strongly about the story. I realize writing is a subjective business, but I think this story is better than its being given credit for. I’m also not the only one who thinks so. When I shared this news with my fans, many of them rallied behind me to beg me to disregard what the agent said and self publish this book in print so they could have a paper copy to accompany their digital copy. One even said she was a beta reader for a time and of the thousands of books she’s read, mine was one that stuck out in her mind because it was so well written.
So, here I am a day later, still feeling the effects of the old familiar sting of rejection and feeling it more than I have before. Is there anything I can do to temper that feeling? You bet there is, but don’t ask me what that is. I still haven’t figured it out yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.