Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Strike One

Okay, I didn't mention it on the blog but a few weeks ago, after I had given up all hope of ever finding a home for MASQUERADE I got 3 more partial requests. I recieved the first rejection yesterday.

HOWEVER, it was a personal rejection letter and although she said it wasn't the right home for her, she did say I had a lot of talent and if I found the right niche, she thought I could be very successful. Now, I don't know how much of this was bullcrap and how much of this was truth, but she did address the letter to me personally and it was not the standard words used in a form rejection.

So, what I've come away with is...someone (an agent) thinks I have talent. That's good. What I don't have is a good enough story. Not so good.

I've done a lot of thinking about this the last few days...I had a revelation Monday morning about MASQUERADE which is making me rethink the whole opening. I could rework it to make it stronger, I do know now what the problem is. Another HOWEVER, I don't think I want to. I would be "writing for the market", not for myself. I would have to make the characters something they're not and I don't want to do that. I spewed a whole post writing about the integrity of my writing so if I "write for the market" then I call myself a hypocrit.

I have decided that when the other rejections come in (and I know they will) I'm going to put it on the shelf. I had so hoped that I would be able to make my platform on Regency romance but that's not to be the case.

So, I've decided that when I get back from Rhode Island, I'm going to go full steam ahead with REMEMBERING YOU the Genna & Tony story. I'm going to finish it over the summer and revise as soon as the baby goes to school. I'm shooting to query by the end of September.

Hopefully I'll come back from RI with a whole different attitude about this situation. I'm kind of sad that William and Penny aren't going to get the place in the bookstores that they deserve. I've been stuck in MASQUERADE mode for so long I feel like someone has died.

Tell me ~ How do you feel when you know the story you've slaved over just isn't what you thought it was going to be? Do you rework it or do you just stick it under the bed with the dust bunnies?

**** I know with the summer months a lot of us, myself included, have gone to a M-W-F posting schedule. Due to my upcoming vacation, I decided to post my 'SOMETHING-SOMETHING' post (the Genna & Tony sex scene) yesterday. For those of you who missed it, or thought I was posting it today, please feel free to scroll down and take a look. And please don't be scared that there's sex in it. There's not.

42 comments:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I can totally relate to you. I feel exactly the same about my first novel. I keep getting such good feeback from agents, but no bites. One even said, that she loved the way I wrote, but she had just signed someone with a chicklit novel about a musician and didn't think she had room for another novel with a similar premise. DAMN!

I feel for you. I think we're in the same boat. I guess we need to move on. Maybe if we get that second book published, they'll eventually want the first? Who knows ...

Cruella Collett said...

I guess putting it on hold for a while could be a solution, but I'd like to ask you not to give up on it entirely. Perhaps next time will be the charm. Perhaps putting this MS on hold for a while will free your creativity to come up with that one plot twist that turns the whole story around and makes the book even better.

Hang in there! :)

Ted Cross said...

I still don't know. I love my story the way it is, yet I feel it won't sell unless I make some dramtaic changes. Should I keep the original just for me and go ahead and make those changes to sell the book? perhaps. I can't make up my mind about that, so I feel for you.

Piedmont Writer said...

Jessica -- Oh man, that sucks. I guess we are in the same boat. Yeah, I think with a couple months behind me I may get a better perspective. I also think too, that if I finish the next one in the series and sell that first, then I caould always sell M. later.

Cruella -- No, I couldn't give up entirely, I like them too much. Maybe next year.

Ted -- I hear you. Depends on what kind of feedback you're getting from agents. If they request partials but no fulls, then yes, make the changes if you feel you must. At least that's the advice I've read.

Ariel Swan said...

Oh - so sorry to hear you are feeling it is time to shelve. Don't give up. Keep sending. But also keep writing. I too (with only one - yes one query sent out) have thought about how I will have to change the whole beginning when I get rejected however many times I can handle before I change for the market. But I don't feel bad about that. Rather - I feel like I want to be done with DISTILLATION and I want to move on to LADY'S SLIPPER. But it has been a labor of love and it is just tragic to hear someone as optimistic as you think of even shelving their own. "They" said you've got talent - keep at it - it will come!

DL Hammons said...

That's a cross-road I haven't had to face yet, so I don't have an answer for you. But I admire your decision not to change it for the market. Maybe the market will one day roll back to you?

Jennifer Shirk said...

I have a book that is with the dust bunnies. I really like it and the humor in it. I've thought about revising, but have never attempted. Maybe some day...

Piedmont Writer said...

Ariel -- I've been with MASQUERADE for almost 2 years now. I love it but I'm sick to death of it, so maybe it's a good thing. Someday I'll go back to it I know.

DL -- That's what I'm hoping, the market will change for me!!

Jennifer -- I guess we all need to have a book under the bed at some point. Better to be this one than any of my others.

sarahjayne smythe said...

I totally get what you're feeling and I'm sorry you're feeling that way. Because it does suck and it does feel like someone/something close to you has died. Writing literary fic, I've always felt that way about my writing.

I've recently dusted off and begun working again on something that I've been writing off and on for a few years. So there's always hope that you can go back to Masquerade after a while.

I hope you enjoy RI and come back feeling better. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Sarah Jayne -- Thanks. I'll be spending a lot of time at the beach which I miss more than anything in the world so I should be coming back refreshed and ready to tackle the world. Unless I miss it so much and I want to stay.

Christi Goddard said...

Though everyone who has read my new MS raves about how good it is, I have nothing but rejections coming in. I thought I'd at least get partial requests, honestly, but nope. Not a single nibble. I guess I don't write for the market well myself.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I have a couple under my bed playing with the dust bunnies. As much as I still have feelings for them, they're probably where they belong. Sometimes, you have to shelve them and move on. Good luck with whatever you decide in the end :)

Elliot Grace said...

...sounds like you're getting close, Anne. No way would I shove it under the bed at a time like this. Keep hammerin! It'll happen:)

Christine Danek said...

I'm not at the point of querying yet and hate the thought of putting something to rest that I worked so hard on. I think it may help in the long run. If you put it away something might bud from the creativity that was focused on the other manuscript. Then later on you can go back to it.
Hang in there!

Christine said...

I know this is disheartening. I have 3 books on the shelf, but one was a MAGGIE finalist in 2009. I had such high hopes for that book and had tons of requests for fulls/partials. No bite. However, I am revitalizing it and continuing to send it out there to contests and other publishers. And I decided to resurrect the first two as well. One never knows. I'm trying to think of the older books as being "asleep" like Sleeping Beauty. One day an agent or editor might kiss them and wake them up for the world to read. The only difference is that I have to send out smoke signals for my "prince" to come find them---query and submit and enter contests. Why not just play around with the beginning after you've had a bit of time to distance yourself from the book? After you write the next story, you can return to MASQUERADE with a fresh eye and an eye that's learned more about writing, too.

Piedmont Writer said...

Christi -- I'm going to send you an email.

Jaydee -- You know, everyone has books under the bed. I never wanted to admit I would too but sometimes it just has to be.

Elliot -- Oh, thank you! That's sweet to say. I don't know. I'm just going to wait to see what the others say. If I get feedback that would be great. If not, then under the bed she goes.

Christine #1 - I do need a break from it anyway. First I wrote it, then I revised it. I queried it. Then I revised it 4 more times. Then I queried it again. it's been almost two years now. I'm sort of sick of it. You know. Maybe a break will be good.

Christine #2 -- I think once I get Genna & Tony straightened out I'll have a better handle on the situation.

Falen said...

from what i know of masquerade, the story is good (keep in mind i don't know much about regency). BUT maybe the writing is not where they want it to be?

I think you should put masquerade in a drawer, continue writing, and go back to it in a year or so. By then, you'll have grown even more (since we never stop getting better as writers) and be able to tackle any changes you want to make.

Also, the personal rejection is not bullcrap. Agents don't have time to spend writing letters where they lie. they don't have to, they can just send you a form rejection if they don't like it and take half the time.

So take everything she said as the truth and pin that letter to your wall.

Don't worry, you'll get there.

Piedmont Writer said...

Sarah -- Thanks. You're right, of course. Sometimes I just see the trees and not the forest. I did, in fact, keep that rejection letter just because she did say I had talent. Some days it's harder than others to keep my chins up.

Jen said...

I go with my gut on these, if I know I've worked it and I loved it and no one else did I'll shelve it, I never know when it will come back but for the time being the dust bunnies can keep it company. It just means the timing wasn't right, it doesn't mean it's gone forever, at least I don't believe that.

You have a great plan in place and I'm sure you'll do well, I've read your snippets and I agree with the agent, you've got talent girl!

Creepy Query Girl said...

where the agent's initials SM? I got almost the same rejection letter yesterday so it made me wonder...hmn. Sorry about the rejection and it sounds like you've got a good plan!

Patti said...

I'm kind of in the same situation. I'm querying it but I'm not sure it's the book I want it to be, but I'm also not sure if I want to try and make it more sellable, so I'm busy writing somethng else over the summer.

Davin Malasarn said...

Anne, I just got an agent rejection two days ago after a partial request as well. The criticism was something that I had heard before, and it is something I decided I wasn't going to change because I think the book is what it is. I think I'm in the exact same place as you right now. I feel calm. I don't particularly want to submit nor do I care that much about traditional publishing at the moment. I feel really good about my writing and that has given me an infinite amount of patience. I am working on my novella, and I'm waiting for another novel idea to surprise me. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Jen -- Thanks. Soemtimes it's just better to move on and I think that's what I think I'm going to do.

Katie -- I'm going to email you.

Patti -- I think that's the best course of action right now. Just do what you have to do.

Davin -- Yeah, I think once you've gone through all the madness of querying you finally get to that point of calmness and not caring. It may or may not be a good thing but something we all need to decide for ourselves.

Portia said...

I also gave up on a book. It was my first, my baby, and I spent three years of my life on it. I may or may not ever return to it, but I did go through a sort of grieving process about it.

I hope someday I can return to the piece, but there is a certain peace to focusing on something else. I hope you find that peace and are able to decide what's right for you and your work. I'd hate to think that this book never gets the audience it deserves.

Lydia Kang said...

I don't have a good answer because I go through the same thing. I think I have a novel as good as can be, but maybe not and I just can't see it.
Sigh. I'm going to wait to get more feedback on any partials or fulls I get. We'll see.
:/

February Grace said...

Anne,

I'm not really supposed to be online right now, supposed to be resting my eyes (shhh don't tell anybody ;) so sorry if I repeat what anybody else said already I can't read all the comments but I just had to give you a big hug here. I'm sorry about the 'no'.

I don't think that the decision to shelve a project is anything anyone can really help with- at least that's where I'm at right now, myself. No matter what other people think- it's a decision you have to live with later so only you can know if it's time or if it deserves more tries. Maybe try putting it away for awhile but not swearing off while you finish up with Tony & company?

Just knowing what I've gotten to know about the way you write and what you want to include in your books think that it'd be an awful shame if readers like me didn't ever get the chance to read your Regency. For me you might be the redeeming factor for an entire genre. Yeah, there I said it! You could be the only reason I'd have to buy a book like that.

No pressure or anything...

my nosy 2 cents is this-focus on what makes you happy today- right now- then see how you feel when the sting wears off a little. And if you figure out how to make the sting stop please tell me... (((((hugs))))

@Davin,

you said "I feel calm. I don't particularly want to submit nor do I care that much about traditional publishing at the moment."

Without so much of the 'calm', (I take nothing 'calmly')that's exactly where I am right now. I just don't care about submitting- I just want to write if I can just get unblocked. I'm hoping large amounts of music and maybe some painting will help. If only I drank.

~bru

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I spent a long time working on CassaStar. Maybe just letting it sit for awhile and then tackling it fresh. In the meantime, the personalized rejection letter is a good sign - keep writing!

Talli Roland said...

That's such an encouraging response, though! You should definitely take heart in that.

This is a difficult one. I wouldn't put it on the shelf after one rejection on a partial, or even change it at this stage. Just wait until you've queried all you can and you have your partials back. Then you can make a decision.

One thing I've learned: never make a decision right after a rejection!

Bossy Betty said...

Give yourself a little time. You'll get some perspective and then make some decisions. Keep positive thoughts about the others out there!

Ed Pilolla said...

what's most important is having the energy and love of your work to do whatever the spirit compels you to do. sometimes reworking it in a way that another thinks is best will make for a better story and will flush out our characters better. sometimes we need a break to recharge. it's fun that we don't know how our stories will end up in the end, and being open to what might happen is a powerful place to be as a creator. i'm really excited for you. a letter like the one you got has real value. carry on!

Travis Erwin said...

Keep fighting the good fight.

Piedmont Writer said...

Portia -- I think I jsut need some time away from it. It's been all encompassing for the last 18 months.

Lydia -- That's all we can do is just wait and see. If it doesn't kill us.

Bru -- Thanks for the lovely words. I think the only thing to take the sting out is a poor girl's Manhatten but considering I don't drink anymore, anything chocolate will suffice.

Alex -- Yeah, that's about all I can do at this point. Just relax. It all comes out in the wash anyway.

Talli -- I sent you an email.

Betty -- I think once I get back from vacation things will definitely look a lot better.

Ed -- Thanks for the sugar. Hey, how did you like the sex (scene) yesterday?

Travis -- You betcha'! Thanks for stopping by.

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Anne, I'm so impressed with your resolve not to change your book for the whims of the market. Well done. And don't forget, you're not the writer of ONE book. You're a writer of MANY books, right? It's a career, so don't let it get you too down. Good luck and HUGS!!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Anne, this is sad for me. Are you really going to shelve it? I'm going to finish reading it anyway, just so you know. Now that my short story contest is out of the way and Cinders is getting almost to the finish line with publishing, I have a ton more time! I think the beginning of your book is fine. It just needs some shifts and tightening up, in my opinion.

I gave up on my first novel. It's shelved for good, although I may end up rewriting it one day, maybe as a novella. :)

You must, of course, do what you feel is right for you and your writing career.

Piedmont Writer said...

Zoe -- I sent you an email.

Michelle -- Don't be sad. And I would love to still get your feedback on it. I know how busy you are. Perhaps under the bed keeping company with the dust bunnies it will be able to come back out early next year. It won't be forgotten. I love it too much.

The Words Crafter said...

I'm so not an expert, or even a novice...but three things stood out to me: 1. she said it wasn't the right home for her...so maybe there IS a right home...and you just haven't found it. 2. She wrote a personal letter. Wrote. Personal. Letter. Hmmm...you made an impression and she cares about how you're going to take the news. She added a personal touch (something I never got)...IT MATTERED TO HER to do number 3. 3. You have a lot of talent. Again, YOU MADE AN IMPRESSION...enough of one that she took time to write you personally...if you put it away, do so only to find where it will fit. Too, maybe you could reply and find out what exactly is "home" to her...you may already have something...have fun on vacay and please don't be too blue...and all caps...for emphasis, not yelling! Replies don't offer italics-they should...

Lynn said...

I really like what Talli has said. Don't make a decision right after a rejection. And I'm happy to hear you are not changing, staying in integrity. Life is so much bigger than a book, although I know it dosen't always feel that way.

Guinevere said...

This is a tough situation to be in... I've been in a similar situation, but in my case, I realized that the book I'd worked so hard on was just not ready to be published. It wasn't a marketing issue... it was a writing issue. That was hard to face, but I shelved it until I can give it the revisions I think it needs and moved onto my current WIP - which I think is coming together much more easily and well!

But if your primary concern is marketability... I wouldn't give up yet. The personalized rejection is a good sign! If you *do* decide to shelve your current book, it'll be temporary, right? Try not to be discouraged... it sounds like you really have something here.

Kelley Vitollo said...

I have a book I've done that with. Its a hard decision, but sometimes it has to be done. That being said, sit on it a while. Don't rush into a decision.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Personalized rejections can be a double edged sword- now you can improve the story if you choose to. And if not, at least you know you've written the story the way you want it.

Donna Hole said...

I'm not agreeing with you that the story isn't "good enough." What if you rewrite that beginning, and another agent picks it up, and suggests a beginning similar to the one you've revised?

Its so hard to know what to do. But absolutely take her compliment to heart. I'd be glowing like an angel if an agent told me I had talent. Yep, thats the right stuff to take out of that rejection.

I'm at the point with NOT HER MOTHERS FATE where I'm sure it should just be shelved and forgotten. I've worked out my writerly kinks on it - and the other two in the trilogy - and maybe it was a good novel to practice on, but not to publish.

Its a hard decision to make. At least you have REMEMBERING YOU to throw your heart and considerable talent into. And who knows what you could accomplish if you give it your full author attention.

Good luck Anne, whatever you decide.

.........dhole

Walter Knight said...

A writer could write masterpieces, and still get rejection letters. I would not change anything until an editor accepts your work and THEN makes content suggustions.

The main thing for now is that people are reading your manuscripts, so you must be getting past the query process. Good job. Keep writing.