Addendum! I’m putting it here for those who have already read the blog once. The publisher who I said pissed me off (below) should have been removed. It wasn’t them, it was me being cranky. Thanks to him, the publisher, who brought this to my attention. When you read it, shake your head and say ‘Bill, Bill, Bill”, just like that.
Start blog here —I promised honesty in this ongoing saga of my safari to publication, so there you have it. Sometimes that’s gonna be ugly, sometimes not. Either way, this is my true-to-life experiences in writing fiction in the 21st Century.
First things first: six more ‘No’s’. The publisher who previously indicated interest won’t return my emails. Who knows why, they’re the one who told me to try Baen first and then said let them know if that did not work out. Loyalty is one of my defining characteristics, sometimes to my detriment, as it was in this case. Because of their generosity of spirit I wanted to try and discuss some way they could make money if Baen bought the book. I guess that crossed some line I don’t know about.
As for the agents, one agent said no (form letter, of course), and two other agents went past the two month period I allot for such things, which means ‘not only don’t I want to represent this, I’m too busy to even send a form email.’ That’s a cold reality you’d better get used to quick: whether they are truly too busy or just don’t care, most agents don’t let you know they’ve rejected you. And if that leads you to believe that you are beneath their notice, just one of the squirming beetles they have to navigate through to find a jewel in the mound of dung, well, that’s your problem, not theirs.
Some do, at least, send a rejection form, and that helps a lot. At least you know somebody glanced at it and you weren’t summarily rejected because some hungover slush pile reader stayed out too late the night before, or had to get through 50 queries before they could knock off work for a hot date. A second publisher, with whom I had been talking and, frankly, was moving toward trying to sign with, really irritated me the other day. I don’t think they meant to, but the damage is done.
Finally, there were two more twitter contest ‘No’s’. Honestly, none of this surprises me. I’m writing fast-paced, action-packed thrillers with (so everybody tells me) terrific dialogue, but that suffers from a fatal flaw: it’s overtly pro-American and pro-Armed Forces. This immediately shuts out a huge section of the literary world.
The book has an incredibly diverse cast with every race, color and creed represented. It has every sexual identity you can think of (inspired by Robert A. Heinlein’s fabulous Time Enough For Love) and the MC allows no bias whatsoever. In these respects it is as PC as you can get. The problem is that these people are not persecuted for these traits, they are accepted, and accepted in a pro-USA setting, no less. This is not supposed to happen, but in my future world, where the only law is the US Constitution, my MC is not going to allow any American citizen to be mistreated. Conversely, he is not going to allow the USA to be a whipping boy any more, and therein lies the problem.
Will writing this stuff cost me friends? Maybe. Will it piss of agents or publishers? Probably, if they read it. So the question has come up why I’m sharing the pursuit of publication with the world…and the answer is, I’m not sure. Why pour this out for all to read? Sour grapes? A raging lunatic with a keyboard? (Don’t answer that.) I’ll try to explain it.
Mostly, it’s cathartic. The more you hold rejection in your heart, the more it burns. Is there an embarrassment factor?
Not for me. I’ve already done something (thrice!) that most people cannot and would not even attempt: I’ve written a novel. Finished. Might need an edit, might need some revisions, but I have a manuscript that is ready for a publisher to accept and work on.
But the bigger picture is that once you’ve thrown the rejections out to the world, they have no more power over you. It’s like if someone knows a secret about you, and you’re afraid that secret will come out, the fastest way to rob that secret of it’s corrosive power is to expose it yourself. Your fear is always worse than simply facing it. I mean, what are people gonna do, point and laugh? Yuck, yuck, you didn’t sell your book.
“Oh yeah? Well, if you wrote one it would be one adverb after another.”
“What’s an adverb?”
See my point? For me, sharing it means you already know the worst part. And at the end of the day, I have a business plan that kicks in once the 200 mark is reached, OR when my drop-dead deadline hits. So this is all just part of the plan.
But since I’m going the whole Honest John schtick with you guys, let’s be clear about this: I’d still like the big ‘yes.’