Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rejection Reflection (or) The Mouths of Babes

One week, three rejections.

Two were from agents who read my full manuscript. One was from an agent I was high on who declined to read it.

Again, for those who are not going to be famous soon, this happens often. It is somewhat infrequent that an agency requests to read your full manuscript at all, and you count yourself lucky every time it happens. Accordingly, I am deeply thankful that anyone at all has even given my novel the time of day, and I understand that rejection is part of the ordeal. They say that the worst thing you can do in Vegas is win on the first hand; I don't expect this to be an easy process or one that I am entitled to succeed in (The only thing I am truly entitled to is my eventual fame.) 

That said, here is a disturbing mini-trend in the nature of said rejections. First, from an agent who declined after reading the manuscript:

"I'm afraid that we just don't know that we can successfully sell this given the current climate in the publishing world. The book dances between YA themes and themes more suited for an adult reader."

And from the one who declined based on the query letter:

"You've set up a hard situation: 12 [year-old] protagonist in an adult novel. Not impossible to do, but in these 'duck and cover' times in publishing, it would be hard to pull off, both in writing and in selling."

So agents think that publishers think that [real] adults don't want to read books that open to them the minds of "young [not yet real] adults"? Noted.

Here's a game for you.

Q) For $1,000, what are the two big raves right now in fiction?

A) vampires (eck) and crossover fiction (*slushing sound*)

Q) For $1,000 more, what is crossover fiction?

A) Fiction that will appeal to both an [real] adult and a young [not yet real] adult reader. Think Harry Potter. Now, stop thinking or your brain will explode from the catch 22. (Which would make a great book title, btw. Someone get on that.)

Great. Your check's in the mail, right beside mine.

Q) Oh, for another $1,000, what do all of these news items from the last month have in common?,,20431814,00.html,CST-NWS-duncan23.article

A) Easy. They are all further evidence that publishers are correct. The happenings in the lives of young [not yet real] adults have absolutely no relevance to [real] adult life. And as such, [real] adults aren't talking, thinking or reading about them.
Bonus round!

Here is a short list of some of the themes in my novel. [Real] adults (and [real] adults only!) -- let me know which ones have no relevance to you. I will take them out forthwith. No money at stake here. Just my future.

- violence
- racism
- inequity
- intolerance
- isolation
- love
- hope
- subway travel ([real] adults still do this, right?)
- the unavoidable connection between the fate of the privileged and the fate of the poor
- peacocks

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