As has been mentioned, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve been going back and forth on my thought processes regarding all of this, trying to determine what my best next course of action should be.
It’s been troubling. As previously stated, I’m not good at selling myself, much less so when I’m trying to sell something I’ve created. When stuck in a situation like I’m currently in, where I have to sell myself in such a way that I somehow stand out from the piles and piles of queries agents get on a daily basis. . . well, it’s difficult to know how to proceed.
Looking at the books most agents who sell young adult books sell, it would appear that all anyone really sells is romance novels. A high-minded young adult novel doesn’t really mesh well when sitting alongside romance novels. It just doesn’t. So, that makes it all the more true that I just don’t see how I can really be seen as a highlight in the pile when my book doesn’t involve copious amounts of sex, or vampires, werewolves, wizards, or whatever.
No, my book’s about a boy. The boy works hard. The boy has fun. The boy meets a girl. The boy is chased by, well, everyone. The boy nearly dies 17 times (exaggerated only slightly). The boy is Han Solo. No matter what happens to him, he just keeps coming back, ready to fight some more, never willing to believe he’s out of options. This isn’t some crazed fad of an idea, it’s a strong story about a real person, in a setting that’s not too far off from the real world of today. There’s conspiracies, there’s secret tunnels, there’s hidden communities, and a whole wealth of other things that build up this world. All things that he sees while he runs across our nation.
This is what I want to tell these agents. This is how I want to sell myself. Honestly.
But I can’t. From everything I’ve read, this would come off as gimmicky. And gimmicky is bad. Of course, considering the fact that I’m getting rejected immediately anyways. . . perhaps it wouldn’t hurt.
But, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m in a battle against the odds. The chances of finding someone out there who not only notices my query in the pile of slush but also connects with the idea of a story about humans, not sex-crazed Fabios, vampires, or zombies (ugh . . . sex crazed zombies, that’s a story I hope doesn’t happen, or doesn’t happen).
But I’ve also accepted something else. I will be like Cyrus (the protagonist of The Agora Files). I will not allow myself to believe that all hope is lost, because it isn’t. I refuse to give in. Maybe I can’t get through to these agents by querying them. If I can’t, there’s plenty of other options. Writer’s conferences are supposedly a great way to get moved to the top of the pile. Not sure how possible it really is for me to go to one of those, but worth a shot, I suppose. And contests. There’s a whole wealth of contests out there for writers. I just have to be willing to put my best foot forward and let my writing actually take center stage.
So, I no longer will allow myself to just stay in one place, hoping that some sort of author’s miracle will occur. I will fight this battle and I will win.
I’m not trying to bad mouth agents, or romance novels (I’ve never actually read one. . . the covers always freak me out a bit). I’m just beginning to realize how futile the process can be when you’re not working on such a high level concept. I had thought the failure with Buddy Hero (which is much more of a high level concept) was because I wasn’t working on something the market was considering at the moment. It wasn’t until now that I realized the issue was more that the process is not the best process to ensure all authors are actually considered. And I get it. There’s a lot of people out there trying to get published right now. And a lot of these people are not ready to be published, whether it be that they don’t actually have a book written, they don’t have enough of a book written, they have too much of a book written, or they just don’t have a strong enough grasp of the English language.
Shining out of the pile from a wealth of bad examples IS difficult. But that shouldn’t be the end of the process. If the process doesn’t work, you go around the process, or develop a new process entirely.
Self-publishing is also another option. I attempted it for a short while with Buddy Hero before deciding that I wasn’t happy enough with the finished product to sell it. And it most definitely is a viable option. I may go back to it if all other options have been exhausted (in my mind). But that’s a whole other battle. Then you’re on your own, convincing the entire world that you’ve written something of worth, while they are already disappointed by the wealth of junk being both self-published and traditionally published.
And I totally respect that feeling. I have a hard time choosing books unless they’ve been recommended to me (or I know the author’s prior work). When I was young, I read everything I could get my hands on, and read a lot of junk. It’s one of the reasons I don’t read nearly as much anymore. There’s just too much crap out there. Same thing with video games. You play enough junk games, you just don’t want to purchase anything unless it meets some very basic criteria (recommendation or past success).
So, all this really means is that I have actually accepted something else entirely. I’ve accepted that this process will be a long difficult one. I had hoped for a simple and quick route. Finding an agent quickly and getting back into writing (and revising previous works), since that’s the part I enjoy. Getting the agent’s just not going to be that simple. Which means I can move on. I will continue to work on landing one, but it’s no longer a foremost focus. Writing is. That’s what I enjoy, that’s what I’m going to do. The rest of it is the green beans. It’s the stuff I need to do, but I really just don’t want to. And since it’s not going to be a simple process, it’s not something I’m going to dedicate my time on. It’s going to be something I steadily work on, steadily research, and, hopefully, find success taking the long road.
And if I keep writing in the meantime, I’ll hopefully have a giant pile of books to get published right off the bat.
So, what does that actually mean right now? It means that I will continue to try to sell The Agora Files, as I’m still incredibly early in the process. But it’s not my focal point. I’ve got some work to complete on the back end of the book, going to read through it a few more times to ensure everything that I wanted to be relayed through my writing has been. And I’m ready to begin work on the next project. I’m not quite certain what that will be yet. It might be the big revisions planned for Buddy Hero. It could be book 2 in The Agora Files series. It could be something completely different.
Today, it’s wrapping up some of the loose ends in my current project.
Have a good one.