On Moving to the Shelf

On Moving to the Shelf

Well, here we are.  I’ve just sent off the last query letter for Ignition.

Mind you, this doesn’t mean I’m withdrawing the project, or that I’m scraping the bottom of the vodka bottle.  (That might not be the right idiom.)  The order of my list was more about when I found an agent than how much I want to work with them, and I am still hopeful that one of the responses I haven’t gotten yet will be an enthusiastic “Yes!”

But, you know, I’m a realist.  I’ve been patiently putting this thing through its paces–querying, pitching, and entering contests–for over a year now.  I’ve gotten enough interest along the way to assure me that what I’ve got to offer isn’t a hot mess, but I’m starting to realize that it is a bit of an odd duck.  Not quite YA, not quite NA.  Certainly not played straight, but not quite a satire.  Part of the appeal for me is seeing how the science-minded main character reacts to a somewhat standard fantasy plot, but that still leaves me pitching a somewhat standard fantasy plot.  Perhaps it’s just a crowded market, or perhaps it’s that something slightly weird and hard to classify is an easier sell from an established author than a debut, but it’s becoming pretty clear that it might not be the right time for this one, and there’s no further effort I can put forth that will make it the right time.

I’d love to be proven wrong, to hear from just the right agent that they know just the right editor to make this thing happen.  I still love this book and am tremendously proud of it, and I still haven’t found a character quite like Lacey, with her complex relationship with femininity and her cheerful vulgarity, on the market.  More than anything, I believe in this book.

But time, energy, and brainspace are all limited resources, and I need to make sure I’m using them most productively.  The thing you’re supposed to do while waiting on the interminable publishing cycles is to write the next book, but I’ve been stalled out in that.  I’ve always struggled to keep multiple active books in my head, and it’s clear that I need to kick this one out to make my way forward.  I’m starting to sniff out a new story that’s more high-concept, with unique selling points that are easier to describe, and I need to give it room to breathe.

And hey, if all goes well with a new one and it hooks me an agent who asks what else I’ve got, I’ll have a pleasant surprise for them.