Friday, May 10, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

I spoke with an editor at a romance publisher today. It was enlightening, and kind of a little scary.

For the past ten years, I've been writing in some way, shape or form. I've also been keeping up (as best an outsider can) with the romance industry - I've combed through Romantic Times magazines  stalked publishers and agents' websites to see what they were looking for, and followed all the advice I could find (that made sense for me, anyway).

And then, I get so close to publishing. SO. CLOSE.

My manuscript in the hands of editors at major publishing houses? Check. My manuscript in the hands of editors at smaller presses? Check. My manuscript in the hands of agents? Check.

They've all come back with the same kind of comments. Positive feedback: I like your writing. I love the voice. You can write. I laughed out loud

Negative feedback: We just can't market this. This romance sub-genre isn't selling. Readers want your voice...just not in your chosen sub-genre.

Frustrating? Of course. Disheartening?

The fact is, my own reading tastes have changed. Of course they've changed; no true book lover stays stagnant in only one thing. When I first started writing, all I read were time-travel romances. Lynn Kurland, Karen Marie Moning, Janet Chapman. My three favorites, all right there at my fingertips to enjoy. (I admit I haven't read Diana Gabaldon. I know, it's like I blasphemed right there. Forgive me.)

Now, I read many romance sub-genres  such as historicals (Regency England), contemporaries, some romantic suspense (but not a lot, I'm not a fan of heart palpitations, and I get really into a story). There's a "new" sub-genre that's called New Adult, focusing on the early twenty-somethings; I think those would be neat to read. 

But there really hasn't been much that excites me about what's out there for time-travel. 

This is when people may start chiming in with, This is a perfect opportunity to jump in and really blow the socks off of people! or, Your writing can really bring the sub-genre back to its glory days!

But the fact is...I'm not looking to do that. I'm looking to have a career, one that inspires others. I love writing. I love writing about people; the setting is secondary for me. And that's what makes this decision actually rather easy.

I'm hanging up my time-travel pen for now. For now. The market can't support it - and I understand and accept that. In the future (insert groan), when time-travel cycles back as it certainly will, I'll have something ready. And by that time, I'll have made a bit of a name for myself, so perhaps I'll be good enough to have a reader base that will be willing to give it a try, because I've proven to them that I can deliver on a well-told story. (That's always been my goal - a reader base who knows that when they pick up a book of mine, they're in good hands.)

After much work on the time-travel books, it's time to start writing what two editors and three agents have asked me for...and that's contemporary. Present-day people, present-day issues, and present-day setting. 

Letting go of my current book isn't going to be easy, but it's certainly doable. After all, I'm the writer. That means I get to be master of my universe, and right now, another galaxy is in need of creation. I'm on it. For better or worse. But the optimist in me thinks this is definitely for the better...perhaps, even, a happily-ever-after.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Nancy, what a disappointment for you - after all the work of writing the novel, and getting it noticed and then receiving the great feedback, only to be thwarted by an out-of-favor sub-genre. I like hearing that you've accepted this and are excited about moving forward. It sounds like the publishers are looking forward for your next attempt. I know I am.