Two weeks ago, I received the news from an agent that she was turning down my book for representation. She told me in the email that she felt that it would be difficult to market because it didn’t fit into any specific or generalized genre. It was a memoir/non-fiction/inspirational/religious commentary on online dating based on my true life experiences. She had no negative critical comments on the writing itself and even said she enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something she could market well. So the news was that I wrote well, but not in a marketable style.
Well, this is my second trial at trying to score an agent. I told myself that if it were meant to be it would happen and if not, I would simply give up on writing. I mean, what’s the point right? Agents are at the mercy of the company they work for. They have some freedom, but in the end the book must make money in order to get paid. I don’t blame the agents at all as they have an endless task of reading, commenting, and sending thousands of rejections every year for every one they take in. Of those books those agents acquire, only a handful of thousands do well in sales. Even knowing all of this, it is hard to keep writing when you want to share your stories and have no supportive platform to do that.
I started writing stories as a child and loved giving them to my mom to read. I later graduated to love poetry and writing lyrical poems that would have been good children’s songs. Growing up, I walked around my mother every night and she had a new Romance novel in hand. My first romance novel that I wrote and published was in 2006. It was a big accomplishment and was enjoyed by many of my friends and family. However, poor marketing and a misunderstanding of my publisher’s responsibilities in my contract left me without any real way of promoting my book in my small town. Writing a book is only the first step of a very long process to publication. While I felt my first book was good, I wanted to try writing in another genre.
The romance genre gets a bum rap from public, intellectuals and other authors. However, this is by far the most lucrative business for publishers because on average (according to the RWA and Nielsen’s Rating) 1.08 billion dollars per year is spent by women on buying ebooks and paperback novels. What is wrong with a HEA (Happily Ever After) book? Guys don’t seem to mind when Jason Borne always survives to kill another day, or Rambo comes through all odds to kick the bad guys ass. It’s the same structure but a different gender right? So why is the romance novel dismissed as drivel? Easy reading has its purpose just like movies like Dumb and Dumber. It leaves no residue or angst after it is finished. The Romance novel is where I started and what inspired me to go back to college for a degree in literature.
I am going to go back to the romance genre because it comes easily to me. I still have a romantic’s heart albeit a crusty cynical older woman perches there sometimes too. I love writing as much as watching television or eating chocolate. Characters run around my head in voices well before I form a vision of their bodies or a story in which they will live. She breathes inside me but lies still until I give her a story that cradles and coaxes her to life. My writing won’t stop because it is a part of me. I may never find the way to share my creations but they remain alive and hidden under my skin and keep well in silent black inked voices. I can’t stop writing. Who am I fooling?