The Book

The last week has been largely domestic.

I am writing again. This means I try not to go out much. I am easily distracted and if I allow myself to wander, the writing doesn’t happen.  It is slow going, but I am back on it, and I am feeling pretty good about it all. I set myself an arbitrary deadline for this one, and I am absolutely sure I will go over it. I don’t mind. This one requires a different mindset and I am alright with that. It will be finished, and I will finish it to my satisfaction, and that’s what matters. I am feeling quietly fine about it.

This is despite the fact that the agent who wanted to see my book, does not want it. It is not commercial enough.

I am also, surprisingly, fine with that.

I truly confess that my ego was somewhat dented when I first read his mail. Who does not succumb to the lure of the idea that they will be feted and the subject of a bidding war that will allow them to buy shoes like other people buy packets of crisps, after all?

However, once the slight bruising had worn off, I was, if anything a little relieved.

I did not want to write a commercial book. I wanted to write a book with a very specific purpose, and the agent said I did exactly that. Which was very pleasing to me. I did exactly what I set out to do, and he recognised that.

Furthermore, he said that it was raw and authentic, which is always a good thing to hear. I wanted it to be real, to feel real, even though it is a book set in a fantasy world about Gods. I didn’t want them to be airy, fairy, wafty creatures. I wanted them to be difficult and challenging and to provoke emotion in the reader.

I did that. Me.

It is not a traditional book in the fantasy genre, and I knew it would be hard to place. If it ever does get published it’s going to be one of those annoying things that falls between two stalls and probably pleases nobody but me. I’m not surprised by his feedback. Now I feel free to do whatever I want with it. The likelihood is that when the trilogy is finished, I will self publish so I can placate the control freak in me completely and it will find its place one way or another.

He said I could write. This was huge for me. I know I can write blog posts, and articles. I know I can be funny. This though, this is different. It is like nothing else I have ever written and I was so far out of my comfort zone with it I simply could not judge it at all. I just pinned everything on the fact that I absolutely ‘had’ to write it. It clamoured to be written, and so I wrote it. I was so close to it by the end I could not have told you one way or the other if it was any good. It turns out it was.

It was, on the whole, the best rejection letter a girl could receive. It was fair and honest and kind. It was true in its criticisms and delightful in the nice things it said, and it has given me the confidence to keep going and the freedom of mind to do exactly what I want.

It was a gift, and I intend to use it wisely.

 

6 responses to “The Book

  1. Just wanted to point out that there are two speculative fiction presses that are open to unagented submissions this month: Angry Robot (http://angryrobotbooks.com/opendoor/) and Gollancz (http://www.gollancz.co.uk/2015/10/gollancz-direct-submissions-january-2016/).

  2. Keep on keeping on..x

  3. How wonderful. Not that it’s not commercial but that the rejection letter was fair and honest and nice 😊 I hope you do self publish!

  4. watchingthewheels

    Bollocks – I want to read it …Grrrrr.. When I think of all the ‘commercial’ crap books out there,,grrrr. I want raw, authentic, well written books. The agent is an arse, and I am not at all partisan 😉

    • That also doesn’t mean that all agents would think the same. A close friend queried 40 agents before one liked her project enough to offer to represent her–and that agent sold it to U.S. and U.K. publishers almost immediately.

      The publishing world is very strange.

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