Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CONF 563: SPEECHLESS

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Sorry for the delay.

I've been going over what's been happening & it's taken a while for it all to sink in.

Was in H&M looking at hopeless bikinis when The Call came. Well, it was partner actually, all excited saying my agent had just phoned & could I ring her. So I hurried out to a quiet garden square to make the call, notebook & pen at the ready to take down what she said.

It's not good news I'm afraid. I can still hear her saying that. The editor is very, very apologetic, she loved meeting me and thinks, as did my agent, that I did a really good job with the 3 book proposals but she didn't get a great reaction from her sales department. She was told they already have authors on their list writing for my kind of audience who she must focus on. They didn't see how my books were very different to those authors. What I'm doing is really what they should be writing and she's got to work on breaking them through.

Agent said it's just really bad timing. In six months' time it might be a different story but I mustn't hold anything up to that as no tends to mean no. Commercial fiction for the older reader isn't doing as well as expected. She can't really work it out. There are loads of older readers out there. She thinks it may be aspirational fiction they want, Richard & Judy, where they can learn something from a novel, be enriched. The more commercial end of the market is struggling and the upmarket commercial is not doing as well as it should.

She'd thought long and hard about why my book wasn't, in the end, picked up. There was another editor, too, another senior women's fiction editor from one of the major majors who liked it. Some of her readers weren't so sure though and she wanted to see the whole novel before making a final decision. Then a few weeks later I got an email saying she'd shown it to the CEO of the whole frigging company, also a woman in her 50s, who'd said no. So that was that. No point in going back there.

She then went on to talk about my writing more in depth, she's an amazing agent to have & it's not The End just yet. She's not dropping me. I told her about my other genre book & I am now going to concentrate on that for a few months. The agency is really strong in that area and though she doesn't represent those sort of books directly she would certainly pass it on to her speciality reader.

The saddest thing is how well the meeting with the editor went. She was so so lovely, completely got what I was doing and it all seemed so incredibly positive, talking 3, 4 books way into the future, discussing what name I'd call myself as my real name is similar to another author's, the large print-runs and marketing next to none. Followed up by email to my agent confirming how well it had all gone. Ah well, another zig in the zig-zag of it all. Not much'll change. I'll carry on writing of course. There's self-publishing if I'm so inclined, which I'm not, an offer of an e-book, which does excite me. Getting stuck right into the other genre book is priority though. I was 25% through the first draft when I left it. It's been good going back and reading about things I'd forgotten about and going wow! to myself. I'm transferring it all to index cards now. I've learnt a few things about plotting along the way that are going to blast the rewrite into a different league.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

12 comments:

Lucy Diamond said...

Oh, I am so gutted for you. It all sounded so promising. This does seem to be a really tight time in publishing, sounds like you came agonisingly close.
Hope an upward 'zag' on the zigzag comes along soon. xx

Anonymous said...

I am so, so, upset for you. I was sure as sure that it'd work out. Perphaps it's just not the right time, and in a little while, something amazing will happen I'm sure. xxxx

nodamnblog said...

How cruel. It's awful that you were left in hope for so long, only to be disappointed. I was almost certain you were going to get a "yes". Being in a similar situation, I know how it feels, but chin up, you are obviously a very talented writer, and it's the state of the market that is working against you for the moment, not a reflection on your writing.

With your excellent agent, you'll get there eventually.

Bon courage.

Anne Brooke said...

Huge hugs, Amanda - Lordy, I know what that's like. Best thing to do is throw yourself back into the other writing project.

Hugs and love

A
xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. Again, like one of the others that have left comments, I have been there personally and know exactly how you must be feeling. Will the agent still send out to other publishers? Important that you keep on to her (in a softly softly, upbeat kind of way.) You came so close - it shows that your writing is clearly very much publishable and you will get there. Stay strong, have courage and keep your agent on side. Take time to recover if you need to but then keep writing while other publishers consider your work. I am so sorry though, it is a terrible blow and to pretend otherwise is a joke. Amidst all this, remember what you call a writer who never gives up: Published. A x

Sarah Ball said...

What crushing news, to come so close - publishing seems so set on the R&J type books right now, it really frustrates me when it becomes about trends rather than good stories. I just hope you're OK and feeling buoyed by aspects of your experience - the positive reactions too and the possibilities - it's great when you read through old shelved work and get that good feeling. You know you can do it, you've done it before & you'll do it again!
Here's to a really creative summer!
S x

Amanda Mann said...

Thank you so much. Being able to share with you does soften the blow. If I didn't have the other project I'd probably still be on the floor. Going on holiday today for 2 wks. Hopefully this is where a big line is drawn under the past year. Much love, xxA

Debi said...

Oh! Ouch! No fair! So close you must have felt you could touch and taste it ...

The upside: it's not your writing that's the problem (I've been told the same) and you have a committed agent on your side, which is a rarity in itself.

The time will come, I'm sure. Meanwhile you're absolutely correct to just keep on writing. At least we can sort things out in our fictional worlds until the real world catches up.

genevieve said...

Oh hell. I leave the advice to the professionals here who have commented, and applaud you for your strength, Amanda. Hugs, and I hope that holiday has some special moments.

liz fenwick said...

Hugs. There is nothing I can add that hasn't been said. I am gutted for you but hold onto the positives and as they all said its the market not your writing.

Have a wonderful holiday and come back refreshed and burting with ideas for the new direction.

lizx

Pageturners said...

Think what a great story this will make when your book's a best-seller. Courage, mon brave!

Kate Hardy said...

Hugs. Every writer I know has been there at some point - and the waiting is just rubbing salt in the wound.

I recommend chocolate (small bar of v expensive stuff so you can savour it as a treat but don't get the guilt at scoffing lots of it), then deep breath and go for the other project. Remember the positive stuff the editor said and that it's the market, not you. You have an agent on side and that will work in your favour: these things take time.

If it helps... I always think that things happen for a reason, so I bet there's an even better door waiting to open for you.

But in the meantime it hurts like hell, so sending you a cyberhug.