I’ve been through a bit of a writer rollercoaster lately (writercoaster?) first with my imprint shutting down, then my having to dump my non-responsive agent (who left agenting not long after). Now I’m back in the trenches with three different manuscripts under my arm, knocking on agent’s doors and begging them to pleasepleaseprettyplease read more than my first ten pages. It’s grueling, and the sad fact is for all of us in this position, only a very small percentage of agents respond at all. The few who do send you a perfunctory form letter rejection that gives you no feedback to improve your pitch or opening chapters, and if you’re lucky enough to get a request for the full manuscript, once again, very few follow up with a response. Getting a book published in the time of COVID is a daunting thing.
Just like any career in the arts, talent isn’t enough. Connections help, luck can be on your side occasionally, but persistence is your best chance for success. In the meantime, keep on writing, keep on studying your craft, keep on keeping on.
I wrote two complete YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi books, my usual area of focus. And I wrote this one contemporary YA because the story ate my brain and demanded I write it out. BLUE is about a teen girl dealing with the fallout after her older brother was involved in an automobile accident that killed the father of one of her classmates. I’ve had a professional editor read it through and give me some developmental notes, reworked it a bit, tweaked it some more, it went out to Beta readers and they loved, loved, loved it. And they all cried at the end (Yay!).
But how do I pitch this? Honestly, contemporary stories are generally just not my thing. And publishing is weird. I may not get a bite because my previous books were YA Fantasy and I’m known as a YA Fantasy writer. And if I do get a bite on the new story, they’ll want more contemporary stories and I’ve got nothing to follow up with but more fantasy and sci-fi books and ideas. So I’ve made the decision to put this one out myself, and keep on pitching the others in the genre I’m most comfortable writing.
I’ve got a cover to commission, some formatting work to do, line edits to review, and I’ll be using Ingram Spark as a publishing platform so I’ll have bookstore distribution. I hope to have a cover reveal and launch date for all of you shortly after the new year. In the meantime, I’m still writing, querying, and persisting. Here’s hoping 2021 pays off for all of us.