If I had to make a theme for 2012 at this stage in its fledgling development, I would say that it has been difficult choices.
Right out of the New Year’s Gate, fresh on my celebratory phlegm and spat with bronchitis, I realized that Spouse and I couldn’t make it to Scotland this year. I’ve already written about that decision, so I won’t rehash it here. I’ve started the query process and thought long and hard about my professional goals for this year.
Something an agent told me at the Writer’s Digest Conference sobered me up about my books. She told me that four years ago, she could have sold my trilogy in a hot minute, but now editors bristle at the v-word. My book was finished in 2008 — four years ago. I sat on it. It’s now a hard sell in a changing market.
Yep. Gentle viewers, this is for real.
For the last month, I’ve been taking a long, hard look at my book series. Do I think it is ultimately salable? Yes. Do I think it’s salable now? Not really. It’s a disturbing bit of reality that wriggled in through her words. I don’t think she meant to be discouraging — and I still need to submit her requested partial now that I’ve karate-chopped 20,000 words from it — but she knows the markets better than I do.
While I still want to sell this trilogy, I don’t know if it’s feasible at the moment. That’s terrifying to think and even more frightening to admit publicly. I have two completed books that I’m thinking I might have to murder. At least temporarily.
In order to feel like I’m doing my job and not giving up, I’ve begun to formulate a plan for this year. I’m going to continue to query this trilogy, but while I’m doing that, I am going to bang out the last book by April. After that, I am going to start a new project, which I want to finish by June. By the end of July, I want to have a revised draft of the new project to query and get the ball rolling there. If something transpires for either, it can only help the other.
While I’m not exactly killing my darlings, I’m operating on the assumption that it might become necessary. I realized yesterday that the reason I haven’t gone back to working on book three is because I’m afraid I won’t be able to sell something with vampires — even if they’re outside the fangy norm.
I think that this awareness is a sign of maturity if nothing else — to recognize that I might have something good that won’t sell in the current market. That’s okay. It might also be the big ole stinky fear talking. I’m not sure yet. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
Until then, I’m going to keep writing.
What do you think, gentle viewers? Have you ever had a major goal or project (writing or otherwise) that you had to put on hold for the sake of pragmatism?
- An Open Letter to New York Publishing (emmiemears.com)
- Sunday My Prints Will Come (emmiemears.com)
- Emmie’s Salacious New York Adventure (emmiemears.com)