Julie’s Never Humble Opinion on Publishing Trends, Rejection and Doing What You Want
TODAY’S BREW: Coconut Crème until my heart explodes
Whether you write in the genre or not, if you write and are on Twitter, you heard about the Romance Writers of America conference this past weekend plenty. I pay attention because you can always learn more, and any good book has SOME level of romance in it, in my opinion.
What I was particularly pleased to see was that paranormal seems to be on the watch list again for agents and publishers.
For as many vampire, weird-new-creature-we-made-up, werewolf and other paranormal novels out there being enjoyed as there are, there are as many publishers and agents saying that there’s no market for it. Editors aren’t looking for it.
I’ve always been of the opinion that if you write a novel that begs to be read, there’s a place for it and readers who want to read it.
Of course, I say this with THE HARPY still sitting on several editors’ desks, waiting for its big break.
“SO WHAT SAY YOU, JULESTONE? DO I WRITE MY BOOK ABOUT WERESELKIES OR NOT? I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO, TELL ME WHAT TO WRITE.”
You’ll hate this answer, probably, but OH WELL.
I’ve had rejections from publishers on THE HARPY. It’s been on submission with them for months now.
“WHAT?” you say. “HOW ARE YOU NOT THROWING THINGS AND ANGRY AND CRYING AND DOUBTING YOUR LIFE CHOICES?”
I’m kind of a jerk. I get my sights set on an idea, and by shit, I am going to make it happen. I will take this insane idea (i.e, harpies), and make every goddamn word on the page burn with how much I need to get them out. I’ll perfect the fucking thing by my standards. And when it’s perfect, I’ll ask people to read it and tell me what’s not perfect. While they do that, I go back through the book and I ask myself, does this character breathe life and have a voice and a story that makes them bursting with energy, fear, doubt, determination, anger, love, lust, failure, success, need, and every other complex human emotion that doesn’t work together?
Do I exploit each and every one so that they all seem important at the time they take precedence?
Do I love this character and hate some of their choices?
Do I hate this character but see how that could be me one day if I just thought or acted a little differently?
And I take those notes from the readers, and I pore over them. Sometimes I disagree, sometimes I wonder how the hell I didn’t see what they said before. But I always make sure that every word on the page has a purpose.
And when I put it out into the world of publishing to smite me down, I know that it only takes one to love it the way I do.
And I don’t cry when rejections come, for THE HARPY or any other book of mine, (and they all get rejected, trust me). Not because I did the best I could do–but because the book got read. It got rejected, but it got read, and that’s a step in the right direction.
AS FOR HAVING DONE THE BEST I COULD DO, OF COURSE I DID. I ALWAYS DO THE BEST I CAN DO. BUT MY BEST WHEN THE BOOK WENT OUT ON SUBMISSION TO PUBLISHERS MONTHS AGO IS NO LONGER MY BEST.
This is a hard, ugly truth, and yet it fills me with excitement.
I’ve been writing and editing the whole time THE HARPY has been roaming free, experiencing the world. I’d be a fool to think that if I got my hands on it again that I wouldn’t want to change anything. Or that if an editor says it just isn’t strong enough in a certain aspect that I couldn’t make it stronger.
WRITERS. THERE IS NOT A LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF CHANCES YOU HAVE.
So when I hear that paranormal is back, or that editors are looking for a romance between eagles and chickens, or that zombies are over, I nod politely and write whatever I was going to write anyway.
IF YOU FEEL THE BOOK YOU’RE WRITING SO MUCH THAT IT BEGS YOU TO LET IT OUT OF YOUR HEART AND HEAD, SOMEONE IS GOING TO WANT TO READ IT.
No matter what the subject matter, or the trend, a book that bleeds is a book that people want to read. It may not happen tomorrow, but tomorrow isn’t your last chance, either.