Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blub, Blub, Bluuuuub

I'm a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face
And I spread the dreary-wearies all over the place
Blub
Blub Bluuuuuub

Right now I am having what I categorize as a 'pouty fit.' Usually I reserve this term exclusively for my two daughters, ages five and four, who are grand masters at pouting.

I am feeling sorry for myself. Tomorrow I will be proactive, but today I will be self indulgent. It's a shame I can't give it 100% with chocolate and wine, but I have obligations later. I may be letting myself wallow, but I am still being responsible.

Blub, blub, bluuuub.

Okay, so what's the fuss all about? I got a rejection letter (actually, not worth getting upset about at this point). The most interesting thing about it was that it actually implied they read my query and synopsis. Not only did they read it, but they must have researched it a little bit. The reason I know this is because they commented that they do not publish historical romance with real historical characters as the lead. Since my real historical characters (and they are real) are really obscure, they would have had to look them up. They did not say my premise was terrible, just that the use of historical figures did not meet their guidelines. This is all good, right?

Today I also received an email response from an author whom I really admire. I had asked for advice and she gave it. Basically, I need to know my niche. It's not the first time I've been told that I straddle genres, but I think I understand what that means now in regards to marketing (I had thought it would just appeal to a broader market vs. the fact that agents would not have a clear demographic). Marketing also would be difficult for my title, Courtly Love. I thought it was clever (and so did the author -- tee-hee) but it's not catchy or sexy in any way. She gave me some other pointers that I need to percolate on a bit longer. In all, her advice was honest and I really appreciate it.

Okay, so what am I pouting about? I just got awesome advice from someone I admire and a rejection that implied they actually took interest in my book -- I should be jazzed. I think I'm just overwhelmed. I have so much to do to make things right that I can't think right now. I can't even break it into baby steps.

I know I'll feel better about it tomorrow. The problems will seem so much more approachable and I'll be super-problem-solving-writer and go nuts with research. For today, I'll continue to feel sorry for myself and my unsellable books. Woe is me.

In regard to the image up top, my 5 year old has been reading this book in her first grade class. At the end, the Pout-pout fish learns he can use his pouty lips for something other than spreading dreary-wearies. He becomes a kiss-kiss fish.

7 comments:

Postman said...

The hundreds of pout-pout letters you receive will eventually lead to one kiss-kiss letter. Nobody's got a 0% success rate. I heard Sylvia Plath submitted one story to the New Yorker about 150 times before they finally accepted it.

Hang in there. I've gotten rejection letters before but they are a nice wake-up call.

Lola Sharp said...

I'm new here. *waves* Nice to meet you.

Sorry you're feeling pouty. *sad face* But, I love that you have plans to turn yourself into a kissy-fish. :)

This is a tough biz, as you certainly know. Keep on kissing.

Or, as Dory says:

Just keep on swimming.

~Lola

Raquel Byrnes said...

Oooh how about A Knight of Temptation...or better yet...A Lady of Scandal. Love that you bounce back...keep writing!

p.s. total shout-out to you on my blog!

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Down Days are all right. They allow us to heal. You are, after all, only human -- though I bet it seems like your daughters believe you're super-human.

Know your niche, huh?

Or how about make your own?

Naomi Novak used real historical characters (Napoleon, Admiral Nelson, etc.) in her historical fantasy of the Napoleonic Wars where she mixed dragons with history.

Imagine PERN meets HORNBLOWER.

J K Rowling had a children's book, mind you, where they -- hushed breath -- where they had the Bible Belt taunting gall to teach impressionable children ... magic.

If your dream straddles two genre's, let it. SANDMAN SLIM straddles film noir and magic. And succeeds. There is an agent out there who will believe in your dream ... if you believe in yourself enough to keep trying. Roland

Kathleen said...

I think this is awesome news!!! You're making headway, growing, learning. You're doing all the right stuff. Now for the big question: Have you considered "caving" and writing to their formula, just to see how it goes? It seems like once you get published it's easier to sell your original material. Sorry to be pragmatic, but that's the way I think!:)

Debbie Diesen said...

If it helps to know, The Pout-Pout Fish had its share of rejection, too. Over a dozen just on that manuscript; and across all the manuscripts I was submitting over the years, I had 99 rejections before my first book contract. So keep at it! All it takes is one yes.

Best Fishes,
Debbie Diesen (author of The Pout-Pout Fish)

Erin Kane Spock said...

Postman - I'm hanging in. The first rejection I ever got was the most traumatic. Since them I've calmed down a bit. Actually, a rejection is much better than simply not hearing anything at all.

Lola - Hi! Welcome to my blog. I hope to see you again. I actually caught myself speaking whale the other day in class while I was saying what I was writing on the board.

Raquel - thanks for the shout out. That was awesome. My husband and I had a great time brainstorming titles that had sexual implications. Or, just plain sexual statements. Frances Likes Humping. There was a lot off laughter involved. Your suggestions are much classier. :)

Roland -- there is a part of me that wants to stand firm at the barricades and wave a flag dramatically. Then there is a part of me that knows I'm a newbie writer and this is probably the worst book I will ever write, though it will always be the book of my heart. I like the historical fiction aspects of it, but it's too happily-ever-after to fit that genre. And I like writing romance. So I will comply and not feel bad about it. And maybe someday, when I'm well established, I can reissue Courtly Love in it's original format (but chances are, at that point I'll be removed enough to see the problems with a more discerning eye). Who knows. Thank you for the vote of confidence.
Pern FTW! Horatio Hornblower FTW! Harry Potter FTW! Awesome references there. Now I need to check out your recommendations.

Kathleen -- thank you for being pragmatic. I appreciate it. And you know the genre better than anyone else I've known to date. I appreciate your input. It is awesome news -- it just was hard to assimilate.
Sadly, I did write this to a formula. I looked at a lot of Avon historical romances (mostly Regency) and took in the pacing and heat level for sex scenes, the necessity of shopping and parties, a slutty friend, lurking danger, the misunderstanding that could have been avoided if people just communicated clearly... I put all that in my outline. Honestly, I did. That was part of the project nature of it at the start. Then it developed a life of it's own.

Debbie -- Nice to meet you. My two daughters have the pout-pout chorus memorized and say it all the time. When I started this blog entry, I did a Google image search for 'pout' and considered it a sign when your book title was one of the first page. It set the tone for the blog.
Thanks for sharing the optimism both in your message and in the story.
I told Lily (my 1st grader) that you had written to me on the computer. She wants to draw you a picture of the pout pout fish. She doesn't know you have games on your website. She's in for a treat when she gets home today. :)

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