I don’t know why blogs are called blogs. They should be called rants, because that’s really what they are. Everyone blowing off steam about whatever pissed them off that day. We’re all just venting and I’m no different.
My rant today? I got yet another rejection. My disgust with the publishing world literally (no pun intended) knows no bounds. How my head has not cracked in two from all the years of banging it against the wall in utter frustration is beyond me.
For years, no I mean YEARS, I’ve been writing romance novels. Romantic comedy (published 3 of those, over a period of eight years—big whoop), romantic suspense, women’s fiction, straight romance, etc. Am I a horrible writer? Well, I don’t think so, but who can be objective about their own work? I’ll tell you who. No one. So…the editors that bought those books saw something in them. Bottom line? They were good enough to be published, yes, by small publishers, but still published and well received with good reviews as far as I know. (Meaning if they got bad reviews I never saw them or heard about them.)
Admittedly, I queried a lot of editors and agents with stuff that probably wasn’t ready to see the light of day and that’s why it got turned down. Frankly? I still do that. And sometimes it’s a close call (or so the editors say), but it’s still a no.
Here’s what I heard about the romance book market. There’s a glut of romance writers and limited slots and shelf space. You need a twist, you need something special, something different. Even though, when you get right down to it, a romance novel is a romance novel, is a romance novel. So doing something different and unique is apparently a challenge I’m not up to. It can’t just be good. It has to be great. Supposedly. Which doesn’t explain why so much mediocre crap ends up on the shelves. But I digress.
Okay, so I switched genres to what I term screwball urban fantasy. A really unique idea. No. A. Really. Unique. Idea. Never been done before so far as I know. A possibility for an endless series. Admittedly I didn’t know what I was doing, but in my gut I thought it was a great idea and I got it down on paper. Did it have problems? No doubt. And I won’t go into how many published books I read that have problems. I’ll save those thoughts for another rant.
But, a well-respected sci-fi/fantasy editor with a recently acquired imprint at a well-known traditional New York publisher asked for the entire manuscript. Exciting for me? You bet. I started cooking on the second book, getting even more ideas for the series, some I even shared with said editor. This is it. I’m in. She wants to see it. Was intrigued enough after seeing the first three chapters to ask for all of it. Great! I’m finally going to break out or in to the world of publishing!!!
Until I got a lovely rejection letter that basically says, I’m sorry, this story idea is just too far out there. Wish I had more leeway, wish I was still a small press but because I’m with a big company now, I can’t take this kind of chance.
Are you effing kidding me? I am SO SCREWED. After years and years and years of hearing your work isn’t unique enough, different enough, doesn’t have enough of a twist, I’m hearing, gee, wish I could buy this but it’s TOO UNIQUE?
I. CAN. NOT. WIN.
Conventional wisdom says find an agent. You can sell this. I’m not a believer. The few agents I queried even when I had this editor looking at it sent rejection letters back so fast my inbox smarted from the sting.
There is a well-known psychologist who believes we all choose who we want to be before we’re ever born. For example, some guy chooses to be the deadbeat, alcoholic father who abandons his kids so they can grow up and be wonderful opposite examples of him.
If this is true, then I chose to be the writer who wrote for years and years and years and never achieved any kind of significant publication track record, even though (maybe) I was a good writer. May no one ever follow in my path.
How the world is not littered with the bodies of frustrated writers who have given up and put a gun to their heads is beyond me. Sadly, with the economy in freefall and without another book sale, I won’t be able to afford the gun. Let alone the one bullet I’ll need. So I’m back to banging my head against the wall. Which costs nothing. But I’m wondering now if it stimulates hair growth? Because that would explain why mine is so thick.