Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em

After receiving four very nice rejection letters from four very nice agents just this week alone, I've decided to take a closer look at the project I've been submitting for the last month.

First off, the title. While I personally love the title, EVENING STAR, because I know the true, symbolic meaning behind why I picked it. Others do not. (The real "evening star" is not actually a star at all, but the planet Venus. Hmmm...something disguised as something it's not?) Well, as much as I like it, that title just doesn't connect with my query and convey the message needed to catch the eye of agents or readers. So, that was the first thing to go. Now, I have retitled it IGNITE, (which was the original title of the first chapter). One word titles seem to be the trend lately, as far as I can tell. And, as my novel has supernatural elements involving fire, this suits it quite well.

Secondly, the genre. It appears YA Paranormal Romance is a dead genre. Who knew? Well, maybe I did, a little. But, it's what I love to read, so naturally it's what I love to write. Gosh darn it, we should all be able to write what we love, right? A bunch of heads nod in agreement. Well, that might be the case, but it might not get you published either. And the whole point of this writing thing is to get published. So, what's a girl to do? Answer: write what will get  published. Of course, it took me five LONG years to complete my current novel and while I have another WIP brewing at the moment (I've written some pages), I'm having a hard time kicking the "love-of-my-life" to the curb. Again, so what's a girl to do? Answer: change the genre.

I happened upon a book called, BURN TO BURN by Jenny Han, which was of all things....a YA Contemporary Paranormal novel. I had no idea those two genres were even allowed to coexist. But I should have. When writing my own novel, I struggled between how contemporary it was (I really tried hard to have regular teens with everyday struggles), BUT how there were also those that had supernatural abilities. Alas, I see now that my genre can be Contemporary Paranormal without having to make any BIG changes, (and that's not a "dead" genre). But, it doesn't stop there. No, there's more. YA thriller is a hot genre right now. Not that I wanted to jump on that bandwagon, but originally, my story was about a girl and her Watcher/Guardian angel friends tracking down the leader of a rebel Watcher (think Fallen angel) who was after her and her dead grandmother for their abilities. But, I decided to take the "angel" element out of the story because angels seem to be SOOO two seconds ago (according to the feedback I've received), and instead someone (human) murders her grandmother and then my MC tries to find the killer. Hence, the addition of the thriller element to the genre.

So, did I hold 'em or fold 'em? Neither really. I'm not going to trunk the novel until things look up OR completely give up on it. Nope. I've decided to take what I love--love it even more--and then send it out into the cruel, cruel world again. If it comes back wounded, again, I will bandage it up and THEN decide whether to hold 'em or fold 'em . . . or even walk away or RUN!

Have you had any similar experiences when you weren't sure if you should hold 'em or fold 'em? What did you do??


  1. I ended up trunking my first book. The one I rewrote completely four times. Four. The one I worked on non-stop for three years. The one I loved above all other things in my life. Okay. That last one might've been an exaggeration, but still. I really loved that damn book. Sixty rejections later, I figured it wasn't happening.

    I decided to try to write something more "commercial" Hence, the new book. Light sci-fi romance with contemporary elements. Can I call that contemporary light sci-fi? Hmmmm...that's kind of a mouthful. What do you think?

    So, I just got my first rejection letter on the new book yesterday. I took it stupidly hard. I mean, it was ONE rejection. Please. That's not even worth shrugging over. But, it was the first rejection and I've only sent out three queries, so I got super sad. I just don't want to do sixty rejections know?

    I mean, I had a couple requests with the last book. A couple partials and a couple fulls.Nothing panned out. I'm very nervous about that happening again. I'm like...what? I friggin wrote something commercial. But maybe I only think it's commercial? Ugh.

    Alright, I'm going to stop violating your comment section now. I just popped by to say hello. You entered by GUTGAA critique contest. And don't worry. My critiquing skills are awesome. I'm really good at telling other people how to fix their stuff--I just have a harder time looking at my own. I lose all objectivity. haha.

    I think your idea to rename the genre/title and give it another shot is a really good one though. Don't give up!!!

  2. P.S. I noticed your blog is pretty new. Someone told me on the second day mine was up that I'd get more followers/comments if I turned off Captcha. (The little thing where you have to type in the number/letters on the computer to comment.) I didn't even know it was on. So, I watched a little video on how to turn it off and got rid of it. You might get more comments if you got it off here. :)

  3. Hi Tamara,

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Glad to hear I'm not alone when it comes to holding onto something that just might not be working. I know published authors always say they received LOTS of rejections and it only takes one, but I'm a problem-solver and when I get the same type of feedback I've just gotta do something before I've queried every agent and there's no one left! ;)

    Thanks for the encouragement. I am hoping this round will be better.

    Also, I took your advice and removed the word verification. Hopefully, that will get others to leave more comments on my little blog.



  4. P.S. I hope I win your critique contest!!

  5. I'm in the same situation as you, looking askance at the rejections in the Inbox and wondering if I should re-think the ms. The problem is I haven't gotten a word of feedback from agents, and form rejections tell you nothing. (Even two rejections of fulls didn't have a word of negativity or a suggestion.) So what if I make changes, and I inadvertently make it less appealing to agents? O.o I'm holding 'em at the moment. I believe in the ms, and I think it's too early to panic. Wishing you the best of luck in your query process! :-)

  6. Lexa, I agree. Form rejections are the worst. I must admit most of my have been those, too. Although, I have received a few that were personal-about 3 out of 15, I think. I might be jumping the gun, so to speak, by making changes so early in the query game, but I really want to make my novel something others will want to read--not just something I love. I also am concerned that I might inadvertently make my work less appealing by making the "wrong" changes. Ugh...the worry never ends! haha

    Thanks for your helpful words and good luck to you, as well!!