By Aaron Ritchey
So I was sick of it all. Sick of the rejection. Sick of editors. Sick of my stupid Amazon ranking. Sick of the current project, which was completely unmarketable. Like any publisher is going to want a young adult sci-fi/western, steampunk, biopunk, family drama, dystopian epic. Epic I tell you!
Sick of it all! Sick to death.
In December of 2012, when Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II came out, I watched all five Twilight movies, and I was really moved by the experience. You laugh, but I was. I left and bought Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” and listened to it over and over. The song is on the soundtrack. Google it, if you don’t believe me.
I wanted to write something simple, something completely genre, completely marketable, a perfect example of a young adult romance. I studied the genre. I read broadly. I outlined the story. I kept the characters relatable, and I worked on streamlining the language. I hired an editor, took it through my critique group, used beta readers, did a final polish.
In the fall of 2014, I started querying my young adult romance. The rejections were slow in coming. Several agents read the whole thing. I was closer than ever! My hard work had paid off!
Last week I achieved the ultimate victory! I got a rejection from a big-time literary agent who complimented my story structure and called my writing commercial. However, she basically said my book was too genre; it wouldn’t stand out.
Which is exactly what I wanted.
I am not sugar-coating this rejection. I really do feel a sense of accomplishment. When I was querying my epic, I had a lot of agents and editors scratching their hands. One laughed when I pitched it as a post-apocalyptic cattle drive, and she asked me if I was serious. Yeah, I was. The Hunger Games with cows. My epic finally found a home with WordFire Press and will be out in the fall.
So the book I adored, my cross-genre sci-fi/western, has a publisher. So far, the YA romance I wrote for the market hasn’t. What does this tell me?
There are no rules. There is no manual on writing the perfect book. It’s all very subjective, and in the end, I need to write books I’m proud of.
My YA romance will one day see the light of day: either through a traditional publisher or self-published.
But do you know what?
If it goes through my Indie press, I’ll take my little YA romance, which is too genre, and I will Aaron Michael Ritchey the hell out of it.
‘Cause those are the books I’m proud of. My books.