Well, I still don’t have an agent—not officially, as of yet. But I do have an agent who is willing to take a chance on me. So that’s good, right?
I mean, she doesn’t want to fully represent me because my book, though “intriguing and involving”, is going to be difficult to place with publishers. The books that young adult publishers are looking for are ones with a fantasy twist to them. I do not write fantasy. My book is just a plain ol’ character driven story, nothing more.
So even though this particular agent has taken a shine to me, has asked for revisions, and seems to like what I have written, she has said: “The new ending is better -- a touch too long, but it can be edited down.The bigger issue, for me as an agent, is that a YA novel such as this one is difficult to place with a publisher, even with the new ending. If you look at the YA that publishers are buying, whether it's dark or it's frothy light, it's mostly fiction with a fantasy element of some sort. So, here's what I propose. I can't offer you full representation, because I know there are going to be severe limits to where I can submit this. But I'd be willing to try four or five publishers on your behalf. If we get lucky, we can celebrate and I can have you sign the agency paperwork at that time. If I can't find Desert Rice a home after trying four or five publishers, we part company after the initial submissions, and say, at least we tried.”
Once again, it’s not a no, it’s a maybe. I’ll take the maybe, even though it doesn’t sound very promising.
Exciting? Umm, I’m not so sure. Yes, she’s willing to submit to a few publishers for me, which is wonderful and more than some hopeful writers will ever get, but still . . . I don’t have an agent. Four or five publishers really isn’t very many to submit to either. But four or five publishers is still more than zero, right?
I do know that even IF I had a contract with an agent that it still doesn’t mean I will get published. Lots of things can happen—publishers might not like my book anyway, for one thing. The whole writing world is subjective.
All I know is that it would have been excellent to say, “I have an agent! A real live agent!” But I can’t. Because I don’t.
Now the weird thing—which makes me feel hopeful, though I don’t want to be—is that this agent knew from the very beginning that my novel has NO fantasy elements to it whatsoever. She could have easily rejected me after the initial query, but she didn’t. She could have rejected me after the first 50 pages, but she didn’t. She could have rejected me after reading the whole manuscript, but she didn’t. She could have rejected me after I submitted my revisions, but she didn’t. That has to mean something, right? (Notice my need for some sort of validation?)
I want to be happy, but I can’t. I don’t want to be a downer, but I don’t know how else to be. This wasn’t the news I was hoping for, but it is much better than what could have been (You suck, Angela. Move along)—does that make sense?
So I will tell her, “Yes, please try submitting to publishers on my behalf”—I would be a fool not to.
But I don’t expect much to come from it—I’d be a fool if I did.