Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Options & Feedback

I mentioned my book at a party a few months back and an English professor took interest and asked to see it. He teaches at a respected university, and so I was surprised to receive his offer. Not expecting to hear back from him, I sent it along and went about my merry way. Now I recently discover that not only did he enjoy my book but wants/has passed it to his agented friends. I didn't even know he had author friends! His enthusiasm and detailed suggestions have made me so incredibly hopeful! I only met him once--so he has no personal interest or obligations, and yet he is endorsing my book and using his connections to help me! He thinks middle-school kids should read it...

It's such a weird feeling. Nothing may come of it, of course, but my options have doubled and it makes me feel that much more determined to find publication. If I can make one person that excited about my book, surely I can find another, right? 

This professor brought up some good points. I have to think long and hard about the demographic I want to target. For example, Z for Zachariah is a YA book, but the themes in it are very sophisticated. Engaging YA has great cross-over appeal. Some of my betas have mentioned I should make my book more YA-friendly (less sex, gore, etc.) to broaden market appeal, and now with my most recent full rejection I'm starting to agree. 

Writing young adult fiction was NEVER something I intended to do when I first sat down to write Witching Tree. I was inspired by gorey YA books like Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games and I wanted to write something similarly dark...but I wasn't sold on YA. I'm still a little unsure. I wonder if I can still be a "cannibal" and write YA fiction? Maybe the more mature thing is to let that persona go? Damn. I'm 23 and epitomizing "delayed adolescence." Existential crisis overload! Over and out, minions. 


Xan said...

I have had a similar problem with content in my books being considered too 'adult' for YA readers. I'd recommend not changing anything until expressly asked to by an agent or editor. I left my one novel dark and edgy and it found a home with an indie press that loved the mature themes. My other novel has been tweaked according to agent recommendations for more general consumption. It's about compromise, I guess but stick to your guns.

Vegetarian Cannibal said...

Thanks for your advice, Xan. I think I will do as you suggest. Until an agent gives me specific instruction, I think I'll leave it as it is.

Yeah. Sticking to your guns. Damn. So hard to do as a writer. As those rejections stack up, it's easy to abandon your point of view or question yourself. All a writer really has is their voice. The day they give that up--hey, they've already lost.

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