Friday, October 7, 2011

Some time ago, in a land not so far away at all....

...there was a young writer, primarily published in the small press, who was entertaining the relatively new dream of writing Teen Paranormal Fiction/Fantasy.  I mean, this young writer had sorta thought about writing Teen Fiction before, because he'd spent a good chunk of his life teaching teens, and it also seemed like lots of his favorite writers had penned  a teen novel or two in recent years, so why not him?

But he'd never really seriously pursued this until he managed his way into discussions with a senior acquisitions editor at a major New York Publishing house.   And though by no means did this writer think he'd found a loop-hole and an "easier" way into New York publishing through the YA/Teen market, he pursued this opportunity with gutso. It was, after all, a major New York house, and he figured it'd be foolish to pass up the chance.

And, lo and behold, despite the current cadre of folks who keep prophesying the doom of New York Publishing and decrying all New York editors as short-sighted morons who don't really know anything about writing, this writer had a wonderful experience working with this editor, who nudged him in different directions, pointed out some flaws, and proved himself/herself to be professional and knowledgeable on all fronts.

AND, though this editor passed because he/she didn't think they were the ones to deal with such a fantasy-laden series, this editor referred this small press writer to four top-shelf YA/Teen agents, with the blessing of dropping their name.  SO, this small press writer - digging on his dreams of breaking into New York Publishing  - sent his pitch to one of those agents.

That agent was quick, professional, helpful and courteous.  He/she passed on the project, and made this rather insightful statement:

"the actual manuscript of the first book feels like an adult horror novel and not enough like commercial YA paranormal fiction..."

Which of course, gave this small press...and adult horror writer...some pause.

Made him wonder if he was trying too hard to push himself into another mold for an - albeit, valid and solid - opportunity that maybe just wasn't the right fit for him.

Now, this writer isn't done. There are still several other agents on that list, and as this agent pointed out, publishing is a VERY subjective business. So this intrepid - and maybe thickheaded and stubborn - small press writer plugs on. BUT....massive food for thought.

Because hey, you know what they say: Know thyself....