Britney Spears and I Share One Mind

In the fall of 2008, after I graduated from Ithaca College, I finished up my first young adult manuscript. It was the horribly titled Finding Georgantica. WHAT was I thinking with that name? Although it was originally titled Dome Island

… and a writer friend of mine — who I wish was still writing because her voice was so fresh and wonderful — thought that it sounded like the title of a bad gay porno.

Yeah. It definitely did.

So I changed it to Finding Georgantica, which I thought was better because, well, I was constantly in a state of Britney Spears Haze when it came to that book. That’s an actual term, by the way. I just coined it. It’s that feeling of complete and total obliviousness; it’s a blissful state of being …

… and when it came to this particular book, I thought I had it in the bag.

When I queried my first round of agents in the early winter of 2009, I was all:

I was totally Britney Spears circa 1998’s classic “…Baby One More Time” video. You know, totally naive and shy and inherently innocent.

Just waiting patiently for the bell to ring  my ship to sail in  an agent to love me and offer me a MILLION DOLLAR contract for my awful Bridge to Terabithia-esque novel because that TOTALLY happens, right?

So I waited.

And waited.

And waited. Until the rejections started rolling in.

2009 was SO not a good year. I became very disenchanted for a while.

And then I realized, I really had to unleash my TRUE self in my writing. You know, bare my soul (among other things…):

So this time, before I started the whole Querying Process, I knew I had to come HARD

and STRONG.

That was SO not meant to be an innuendo.

Ok, maybe it was.

So now it’s Day 24 of the Querying Process and I’m starting to go a little crazy. I still have one agent that is reviewing my full manuscript, and my STATs from last week have changed:

Query Letters Sent: 21

Requests from Agents to see Full Manuscript (MS): 3

Flat-Out Rejections: 3

Rejected After Agent Read Full MS: 2

Agents Still Reviewing Full MS: 1

Still Waiting on: 14 Agents

I’m trying to stay positive, but where are all the other agents? It’s hard because not knowing where I stand in this whole process is really driving me crazy. I’m that guy in the relationship who, after the third date, is all “WHERE ARE WE? WHERE IS THIS GOING? ARE YOU COMFY BABE? WHAT’S WRONG? TELL ME.” So to not hear and not know is maddening. [Doesn’t the world run on Steven Time?]

Someone put me to bed.

This is the latest rejection from an agent who requested to read my full manuscript after reading and responding enthusiastically to the first three chapters:

Thanks again for sending [TITLE – remember, I’m superstitious, so I won’t post the title on here], which I finally got to sit down with this weekend.

Unfortunately, much as I was looking forward to reading this, I’m afraid it’s going to be a pass for me. There was a lot to love, in particular your well-drawn characters and easy humor, but ultimately, the plot felt a little too “Coming Out 101” for my taste, and the “fire” metaphor felt forced.

Of course, that’s an entirely subjective opinion, and I’d definitely encourage you to contact other agents (if you haven’t already, that is!) to see if anyone connects with this story more than I did. But if nobody signs you with this book, I’d love to see your next book.

There’s definitely a lot of good commentary here. It’s nice to know that this agent actually read my book, unlike the impersonal [Insert Title Here] stock rejections. This agent said that there was a lot to love, and he/she enjoyed my characters and the humor throughout, and he/she totally wants to see something else from me if I don’t end up selling the current manuscript, which is awesome…

BUT, the “Coming Out 101” thing really annoyed me. I mean, the main driving force IS my main character’s coming out, and how it ultimately leads him where he needs to be. And the idea of “Coming Out 101” is really infuriating because coming out is an individual process; you can’t lump every body’s coming out experience together and assume that everybody has had the same experience. Or that there is even a shared experience. For some, the process is easy as pie. For others, it results in complete ex-communication. The common denominator is that it ultimately leads to feeling free, alive, and no longer living a lie.

So to say that it felt “Coming Out 101” made me angry

This agent is not my agent.

My agent will believe in my book and understand the power that it could have.

So as devastated as I was, I know that it’s absolutely for the best.

Onward and upward!

So to ease my mind — or make myself exponentially CRAZIER — I have decided to send out another batch of query letters.

You say I’m crazy? I GOT YOUR CRAZY.

I believe in this book.

So my goal for today is to send out at least 10 more queries.

I feel good about this. Britney Spears during the Britney-era good.

Once upon a time, I was naive and innocent, but I grew up and I’ve learned a lot of shit about this whole process along the way. Sometimes, the excitement is all “Hold It Against Me”-teaser clips awesome, and sometimes it’s an MTV VMA Gimme More-sized horrorfest. Sometimes I go crazy and fly off the handle, but I always reign it in and pull my shit together because, in the end, I know my book is damn fucking good.

And so does Britney.

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