Actually it’s not a question. There comes a time in every unsold novel’s life when the fact that it’s not selling means it’s time for the trunk. Or drawer. Or Tupperware container shoved under the bed. Or special file folder on the hard drive.
In other words, it’s Dead In The Water.
The series I’ve been shopping for the past two years, the one that sits so near and dear to my heart, ain’t goin’ nowhere. It’s had requests for partials, even a request for a full, all with politely worded form rejections months later. And while there are still 4 agents who may still return my SASE, and another 3 who may, or may not, reply via email – and one publisher in the UK that might, maybe, still let me know – I think it’s safe at this point in time to open up that trunk and drop this baby in.
Am I bummed? Sure, who wouldn’t be? I loved this series, and these characters. It took up a big chunk of my life writing, then completely rewriting it. Though I can’t say it wasn’t a fun task. I certainly wouldn’t have done that if I wasn’t enjoying myself. But now I can accept failure. And I can accept that it probably just wasn’t appealing enough for the current market.
I’d be more upset if it weren’t for my current novel Ether coming along so nicely. I’m a better writer now than I was last year, and next year I’ll be even better still. So if Ether doesn’t make it to the big time, maybe the next one will. Or the one after that. Thing is, there’s no way to tell. No way to guess what’s going to happen. Much of publishing really is a crap shoot, after you’ve written a fantastic novel, but it all has to start with a fantastic novel, well written and carefully crafted.
So into the trunk it goes. And maybe, someday when I’m agented, published and famous, it can come out again and see the light of the big wide world.
10 thoughts on “to trunk or not to trunk”
Remember, too, that what is in fashion one month may be completely different the next month and the trends tend to travel in circles.
Perhaps putting it away until you feel the market for it is returning may be the best course.
Good luck. I just wanna finish one stinkin’ novel.
Just remember, it may not be dead. There may come a time, after you’ve grown and developed as a writer, that you take it out, look at it with new, more mature eyes, and realize how the story could be better told. Regardless, you haven’t failed. You’ve learned and you’ve grown. That’s not failure. Not by a long shot.
Tori, don’t make us do to you what we did to Pete. You wouldn’t want that. You just have to write until The End. That’s all. It’s really as easy and as simple as that.
Boy, I’d hate to reach that point. I consider my current novel/series my breakthrough novel. If this doesn’t sell, I’m done. I have no more. This is it. This is the best I’ve done and the best I have to offer. There’s no trucking it. It would be a complete shelving of my career as a writer.
Ed, do you mean that after this point, you’re going to stop growing and developing as a writer?
Yes. I never started growing and developing.
When I wrote this series, I was convinced it was the pinnacle of my talents. It was amazing, thoughtful, well-written. I’m completely in love with it, still. But if I’d stopped writing, and stood around waiting for that one to “make it”, assuming it was going to be THE ONE, then I wouldn’t have Ether.
Now, today, this moment, I see Ether as the pinnacle of my talents. It’s amazing, thoughtful, innovative, well-written. I’m completely in love with it. I’m convinced that Ether is going to be The One.
But while I wait for that to happen, in order to keep my mind off the wait – I’ll be writing something else. I’m convinced, at that moment, I’ll believe that story to be the pinnacle of my talents.
I’m so much more of a writer NOW than I was several years ago. I can imagine a few years from now I’ll be even that much better.
Agreed. Child of Fate, my current WIP is much better than Long Way From Tomorrow, the novel I’m currently shopping around. The next WIP, which I’m already making notes for, is bound to be better than Fate, too.
I think that’s the difference. You have other projects going on. I don’t. I’ve been concentrating on this novel, it’s sequel, and ideas for more sequels actively for over 2 years, the idea has been fomenting for 15. I have nothing else. If this doesn’t sell, I have nothing to fall back on.
But, if it sells – is that it? You won’t write another novel? What if the first one sells, but the publisher doesn’t want the sequels, and would rather see something else from you?
I’m not trying to come down on you, Ed, but have you looked for other ideas? Play with what if or why? Just because this idea took 15 years to ferment doesn’t mean that the next one will take that long. If you want other ideas, you have to let the muses and characters know that you are open to them.