I e-mailed Junior Agent, and she replied and told me she has received several rejections. Some were “almost frustratingly positive” because they said they loved the story but they had something similar on their lists.
Junior Agent forwarded me an e-mail from one of the publishers and said that the rejections said pretty much the same thing.
“Thank you so much for sending me this manuscript, which I really enjoyed reading. I love a school setting, and the dynamics between the characters felt very fresh and convincing. The author also managed to launch us straight into the world of the story without too much exposition or dithering – which is all too rare!
Unfortunately, however, I’m not sure this is something we can take forward. The brutal truth of the situation is that YA that feels as dystopian as this one does is really hard to sell at the moment. While consumers are still flocking to the Hunger Games, in the children’s and YA trade we have seen a huge number of YA dystopian trilogies in the last number of years, and the retailers are really looking for something new. I appreciate this is a really bad reason to give to your author – but I think she has a real gift for storytelling, so she certainly shouldn’t give up. I might advise her to look at the adult genre market – which may be more open to the ideas she wants to explore.
And I would be very happy to read anything else she might write in the future.”
I wished it could have been something like “the character arc isn’t working for me”, or “the pacing needs work”. Something FIXABLE. But nope. There’s nothing I can do other than wail-weep for a full hour, scaring the neighbors and their pets.
Then I nuzzled into the menagerie’s virtual lap and let the other barnyard animals stroke my virtual hair until I felt less like dying. You guys are the best.
Day 1 of Round 2 (30th January 2014):
Junior and Senior agents are more optimistic than I am. They sent the MS out to a few more editors, so I guess round 2 has begun. We revert to Day 1 once again. At night, I whine to Mr. Cow that it’s Day 1 once again, and how could I possibly survive this for a second round. It’s not like the market’s going to change that much. If all the editors gave the same reason for not buying, what good is the second round going to do? He pats my heid and tells me to polish my second book.
I finished polishing my second book, which is an adult fantasy, and have sent it to Junior Agent. The book worries the crap outta me because it is SO very different from the YA Fantasy (let’s call the YA Fantasy Book A). The worst curse in Book A is “By the dead!” When the characters are feeling particularly frustrated, they might yell, “I hate you!” It’s basically as clean as a Julie Andrews movie. Aside from all the killing, I mean.
In this book, which is Adult Fantasy, there’s an F-bomb like . . . I dunno, every other page or so. Also bewbs. Also sex. My betas have mentioned how strange it is to read it because it feels like they’re reading a book written by a completely different person. But half of them said they preferred it to Book A. I certainly think it’s a better-written book. Something happened when I wrote it. I remember sitting down and doing Word Wars with my friend, and the words just flying out of my fingers. I can only hope Junior Agent loves the book and doesn’t go, “Omg, here I was thinking you’re a sweet YA writer. Restraining order in 3, 2 . . .”
I have a lot less hope this time round, which is actually pretty helpful. I no longer feel time crawling by. It’s a little bit sad, mostly because I really do believe in Book A. I think it’s high time YA readers have a fat heroine who goes around having adventures. On the other hand, I do believe that if I keep writing, one of my books will eventually get published, and hopefully that would give Book A a better chance. I refuse to believe that Book A isn’t fresh enough for the market. I can’t even think of another YA book with a fat heroine that isn’t a contemporary novel set around romance.
Aaanyway. I was caught in the saggy middle of my WIP, where everything seems to be creeping like molasses, but I brainstormed with an awesomesauce writer friend and she helped me knock together the last third of the book. Yay to writing friends!
(To Be Continued…)