Sometimes finishing the book isn’t enough. You might think it is, but it isn’t. I was sadly mistaken when I finished my novel Pride Must Be A Place. I thought I was two easy steps away from publishing it. I mean, it was completed…right?
Pride was written, edited, and beta-read. A couple of my beta-readers even gave me the compliment that it was the best of my books that they had ever read. I only had to convince my agent to love it and then sit back and wait for her to sell it to a publisher.
Wonder Twins Powers Activate! Form of NOVEL CONTRACT!
And love it, she did. I had visions of selling this novel to a big six, even. The accolades were grand. They made me believe in the novel…something I’m not usually prone to do. The vibe I was getting from my readers was definitely, “THIS IS THE ONE!”
And then it wasn’t.
I have this full-length novel that I am extremely proud of–another ISSUE YA novel–that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I have had some tremendously lovely rejections from major publishers. The overall tone of things is that I am a bit behind the curve of the coming out/starting an alliance group topic. “Loved the book, it’s just passe”. That hurts. What do you do with 70K+ words of beautiful well written words if nobody wants to actually publish it? You die a little inside. You stop believing in yourself. You write another 84K+ words and hope the next story has that certain thing, that je ne sais quoi that successful books need that you can’t actually quantify or formulate until they’re on the other side of the success wall.
You just keep writing. You just keep hoping that you hit a nerve. Because that’s it, isn’t it? It’s not about sales or success or accolades or awards…it’s about hitting that fucking nerve. And you’ll never hit enough of them if you don’t get your book into the hands of the amount of readers that only a large press/publisher can give you. Because you want to HIT A NERVE. That’s all you want…to hit a fucking nerve.
Sometimes you can write an awesome book…and nothing becomes of it. Sometimes you can write flawlessly…and the story dies at the gate. Sometimes you can give up. Sometimes you can keep trying. Either way, it’s most beneficial if you scream. Scream for all the hard work down the drain. Scream for things like curves, trends, markets, monkeys. Scream just because you’re doing your best and it is nowhere near good enough. Scream.
And then, if you’re a writer on a mission–to hit the collective nerve of your people before you leave this mortal coil–keep fucking writing.
I thought I would include the synopsis to Pride…
Pride Must Be A Place
An LGBTQ Contemporary Young Adult Novel – 70,000 words.
Ezra Caine is a normal Grade 11 high school student, who just happens to be gay. He’s sort of out at school but not at home, where he fears his father’s bigotry would be the end of him. When Alex Mills, one of Ezra’s more flamboyantly gay friends, takes one too many hits from school bully, Will Severe, Ezra finally cracks. Fed up with the homophobic tensions at school, Ezra decides he has to do something about it. With the help of a few of his friends, and some unlikely allies, they rally to create the school’s first gay-straight alliance. The Rainbow Alliance Club is formed. But the changes in the school do not come without hiccups. One of these hiccups leaves Alex in the hospital, and another threatens to completely destroy homophobic Will Severe. Along with the struggles, though, come several pleasant surprises that show the group their efforts might just promote the change they desire. As he and his friends attempt to sway the school masses into an alliance of tolerance and acceptance, Ezra experiences a few surprises of his own on the home-front. He also learns the hard way that some friends might not be friends, just as some enemies might not be all that bad.