Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sullivan, That Summer

That's the title of the work I tried to find a potential home for this morning. It's uphill work, as I've been shopping it for ten years and the number of editors that will look at unagented submissions who haven't already rejected it has shrunk to a nub. I'm convinced it's a good book, not anything that'll set the world on fire, but hey, who wants to live in a burning world?

The problems with it are:

1) Even by my standards, it's hard to cram into a workable synopsis. This despite the fact that it's, again by my standards, astoundingly short. About 35,000 words, as opposed to Len's story, which before cutting weighs in at 93,000+. But the structure is, and must be, wonky.
2) It's off-brand for me. No magic, no mystery, no mounds of research. Just a nice little story about friendship and meeting your idols. I only wrote it because it started pouring out of me and I don't argue with stories that want to do that even when I'm bewildered at how they got into me to begin with.
3) Though the viewpoint character is a lesbian and one of the arcs is her coming-out story, the book is not edgy. Nor is it as funny as, say, Boy Meets Boy (or, probably, David Levithan's grocery list). When I started it, all books with lesbians in them had Horrible Stuff happen in them and the crying need for a relaxed, ordinary teen story with a lesbian protagonist should have been obvious to everybody. Now it's less obvious and I've got stiffer competition. Life is rough.
4) Notice the adjectives I've used here. Nice, little, relaxed, ordinary - in a climate that's focused on blockbusters, those are not adjectives that are in demand. That doesn't mean it's not saleable or that no audience exists for it; but it does mean I have to find exactly the right editor who understands that audience and currently works at a house that knows how to make money from it.
5) Oh, and that house with that editor has to take unagented submissions.

And this is why I'm an optimist. I couldn't possibly get anything done otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment