Thursday, February 16, 2012

Attention: Frustrated Post Ahead!

Disclaimer: This post is not a happy one.

I've read that people don't like angry, sad, or less than happy blog posts. But when you're deadly serious about publishing, when you've sweated it out, revised the life out of your MS, pulled late nights querying, braved contest after contest in the hope that you'll catch the eye of an agent, you can't always be cheerful.

This month has been a difficult one. I've received a couple rejections, no biggie. I've launched into another read-through and revision of my novel, and so far the edits are very minor. It's made me wonder if I should even bother, but I'm bothering.

I've received suggestions from beta readers on how to make my MS 'better'. The suggestions would require me to rewrite 3/4 of my novel. But it has got me to thinking. What if only a handful of people really like my novel the way it is? What if it would be more 'marketable' if my MC was twelve years old instead of seventeen, and facing boarding school and an evil stepmother instead of an arranged marriage and a wicked cousin? The book wouldn't be my book, but maybe it would be 'more like Harry Potter'. It wouldn't reach the audience I had originally intended, but maybe it would be more appealing to a wider audience. It wouldn't be so 'girly'. But what's wrong with a book aimed at girls, with an MC who doesn't fit the mold of a typical teenager?

The form rejections don't help either. I've tried researching each and every agent, but when the only hint of what they're looking for is that they represent YA, the possibility of rejection is great. I'm considering the buck-shot approach, to hit as many agents who rep YA or illustrated MG as possible. Maybe if I query enough agents I can find one who reps a book like mine.

What do you do when people suggest you change your book drastically to make it more appealing? What do you do when you just can't find the right agent, and reading writer success stories only makes you depressed?


  1. I completely understand how you feel. I am facing exactly the same dilemma. One beta reader likes it as it is and then another suggests that I tweak the first few chapters, in the end you just feel so confused.

    As for the rejections, I have had quite a few too and there are just days when you do not want to write about happy posts. After all, you want to express your true feelings on your own blog, which I completely understand.

    I think that we jut have to stay true to the manuscript and idea we first had. If you are happy with the quality and storyline that you wrote, then stick with it.

    Good Luck.

  2. Thanks, Murees. At least writers know they're not alone in this thing. Good luck to you too!

  3. I haven't run into this yet, but I can completely understand your frustration. Stick with your story otherwise it will just end up feeling false :)

  4. Definitely stick with your story. Chasing "trends" is never good, and if it's not what you want, it probably won't work for you.

    Hang in there and keep writing.

  5. These are the posts that are allowed to happen when you're that passionate about something!

    Rejection hurts, and the biggest is when you're asked to change everything YOU LOVE about your novel.

    My advice. If you like your novel just the way it is, ignore those success stories and keep pushing. Eventually you'll be one of them!

  6. I am sorry you're feeling so crummy. I know the feeling. :(

    I also know the confusion that comes from the feedback of others. Head spinning and mind numbing at the same time! I think whether you take the advice depends completely on the person giving it. Do you like their work? Do they like the same types of stories as you? Are you sure they know what they're talking about when it comes to writing? And I say that bc some crit. partners seem to try to mold your book into their own voice and story-telling. And some have amazing advice that cuts deeply. Also, is there conflicting advice on your work?

    If all of your crit partners are telling you to change something about it, and the agents aren't biting, maybe it's time to pull away from your work and really take some time to reflect on it. My 2nd mss is about a man-eating siren-type teen. Both of my crit partners who like dark YA, said they didn't like my MC. She was unlikable bc she talks a lot of trash about humans. This really upset me because I wanted her to be ferocious. I took some time away and decided that my goal is to be published and if people didn't like my MC, than my dream wouldn't happen.

    I think often times the fix isn't completely changing it but rather tweaking it and that takes lots of time and deep thinking. I ended up figuring out a way to keep my MC strong and deadly, but likable.

    Also, are you getting rejections from the query or partial? If it's the query, ask yourself if it's possibly the way it's written? Maybe it's not the story line at all. Or, maybe you aren't bringing out the story qualities that make your book unique in the query.

    Sorry this is so long, but it's just a bunch of thoughts and ideas. Oh, and I blogged about rejection a while back with encouraging stuff too, like how many rejections different best selling authors first received.

  7. Thanks so much everyone! I stepped away from the net and watched a fun little movie with family to get my mind off all the crumminess. It's so nice to know I've got community support here.

    Rachel, not everyone has given me the same feedback. And so far all the rejections lately are form rejections. I rewrite my query almost every time I send it out to new agents, trying to make it better and better. It's possible I just haven't found the right agent. Will definitely check out your post!

  8. Oh that does suck. I'm sorry and yes changes can be good but I would try and keep your story the way you wanted it to be and keep trying. You don't want to re-vamp the whole thing and lose the main story YOU were trying to tell, so much so that it no longer feels like your story. Wishing you all the best.

  9. IMO, the best way to deal with rejections is to focus on the next project.

    I would be very VERY hesitant to make drastic changes to your story that would make you love the story less. It's your story, and even if it's not what's trending "out there," you have to weigh the desire to be published against fidelity to the story.

    Perhaps the next project will be the one that gets published. Once you have a novel or two "out there" and have cultivated a fan based for your work, you might find a more sympathetic audience for the work that's currently getting rejections.

    There are so many authors who have published successful books that went against the trends of the moment (and ended up setting those trends). I really do feel your desire to be published. But don't sacrifice your integrity as a writer just to get something in print.

    Just my 2c. :)

  10. Thanks, Eve and Colin! I do love my story too much to change it just because of what one person said about it.

    My next project happens to be the sequel to the first book, so I really hope the first book gets published, or else people will be a bit confused!


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