Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shopping the Right Idea?

A dilemma I'm beginning to struggle with as I get sucked deeper and deeper into the business of hunting up an agent for my work is...am I writing marketable stuff?  Now, people will tell you in author blogs, advice columns and the like, that you should just concentrate on writing a good story, and eventually, someone will see the light.  There's a part of me (the biggest part, thank heavens) that believes this.  I have a good story with Mojo Fingers.  I'm a true believer in its appeal and the writing I did to make it happen.  But, as a Middle Grade/Young Adult Contemporary novel, it gets no love from the agents.

Now, I am at the very tippy-tip beginning of my agent search in any real way.  Example: I've only received 6 rejections, 5 of which happened before I knew my ear from a hole in the ground as far as what a query letter should really look like.  If this current round of queries gets rejected or worse yet, no response at all, I know I'll need to go back to the drawing board with my query letter.  Perhaps my first five pages don't have enough action in them.  I'm not saying that I don't have work I can do to change what else might be wrong, and that it's probably my writing at fault right now.

But, as I am looking at blogs and comments on query tracking websites, I'm seeing no love for the MG/YA contemporary.  Watching the majority of them get rejected in a big hurry.  Practically no turn-around time.  So, I begin to wonder to myself...is this the time for Mojo Fingers?  Should I get to work rehabilitating and revising Escape from Grace (my novel draft from last year) since it's such a wildly different concept?  Would it be worth it to explore other genres in order to get my foot in the door with SOMETHING?  I'm seeing much dystopian and steampunk YA get calls for fulls or partial manuscripts. I don't know that I'd really be good at a steampunk universe (think Cassandra Clare's "City of Bones" series, or Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass).

There seems to be a LOT of interest in Middle Grade (early-ish) aimed at boys.  (Think Allan Woodrow's Zachary Ruthless series or Jeff Kinney's Diary of  Wimpy Kid series).  I might be able to write something like that, but it would be a stretch without a really rockin' idea - which I am not in possession of currently.

So, what will I end up doing?  Chilling out a little, probably.  My anxiety (I'm positive) has more to do with fear of rejection than anything else.  Most certainly I will continue querying for Mojo Fingers, and following advice from knowledgeable people - fixing my query letter, sending queries monthly, and most of all - writing good stories that appeal to me.  But, I'll also be hauling out Escape from Grace and hitting the revisions hard on that so I can start getting eyes on it as well.

Good writing - a great, compelling story, addictive characters - these are what I love in fiction.  I hope it's what I will be able to produce as a writer one day.

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