Pearls Before Swine


So. The news from the agent isn’t good.

It’s sad. Not so terrible. But heartfelt and sad.

Dear Jeffe,

Well, this is an unpleasant letter to write. I really do feel that OBSIDIAN is hugely improved with your revisions. You’ve done an enormous amount of work, and I felt that, especially with the ending, the changes were dramatically clear. However, I still have significant reservations about the manuscript, and I honestly don’t know if they can be addressed in yet another edit. Some of this just has to do with your natural way of telling a story, the way that it feels right for you to be telling it. The prose problems that I had in the draft of last spring have persisted. It’s your writing style, and though I know you worked hard on nailing down the nuanced edits I had suggested, you ultimately need to be the writer that you ARE. And who am I to change that in you? Unfortunately, agents tend to have that effect and it’s not always a good thing, certainly isn’t a fair thing. The fact is that we’re just not connecting as reader and writer, you and I, and it’s not something you can change any further from here, I think. Objectively, I can tell you that the manuscript is 200% better now with your revisions– you haven’t wasted time, and I think you can agree with me there. Do you feel that it’s greatly improved? I do believe that. But I’m sorry, I don’t feel confident enough to offer you representation. I don’t personally connect to it enough to think I could sell it effectively. I need that deep passion before I take something on. I do hope that you find it in another agent, and I hope that if and when our paths cross in the future, I will be able to congratulate you on landing a terrific agent
elsewhere.

Yeah, I wept a few tears. And I think I’m over it. She’s right: I believe the book is MUCH better and that I likely can’t change my prose style, even if I wanted to.

There it is.

So, Allison is all about me switching to the sci fi/fantasy agents instead of the romancey ones. The great irony will be that she’s signed (pretty much) with a quintessential paranormal romance agent and she doesn’t really read romance. She digs that my book is full-on fantasy (with big dollops of sex). At least she says so, because she’s sweet to me. 😉

I threw Pearl on here, in tribute to that side of me. That I was the sci fi/fantasy girl from way back. The girl who read Dragonflight long before she read Indigo Nights.

Can I help it that I long for Indigo Dragon Nights?

Pearl, for those who don’t know (which is a lot of people) is my first pubbed speculative fiction story. From Aeon Magazine, Spring 2008. I loved the image they came up with for the story. I like her wistfulness, the hope for something more than her world currently holds. It’s very her.

And yes, it’s very sci fi — with great dollops of sex.

December 1. Never a lucky day for me, the first of the month. Or rather, it’s a day of change.

Which also means opportunity, right?

10 Replies to “Pearls Before Swine”

  1. Aww, Jeffe, I am so sorry about this because it is obvious you worked your tail off. But who can change their voice and why would they want to? It's you. Someone will hear it. They will.

  2. Ughhh, I'm so sorry. Having been on the other side of this, I know that your agent HATED writing you that letter. I think you should definitely ask her to recommend some other agents so that you can use her name with abandon. But what an awful early Christmas present. She's right, of course, you gotta have an agent who'll go to bat for you, otherwise, it'll just sit in her office.

  3. Did I know you worked as an agent, Lesley? Back in the NYC days, I imagine. I agree — being an agent is a difficult business with agonizing decisions. I wrote her a thank you and did ask for recommendations. She's a terrific gal and her insights did really improve the book.

  4. Great googly moogly, Jeffe. I wish there was something I could do to help. I just posted on FB wondering if there was a patron saint of writing that I could pray to, since I'm at one of those difficult stages. If I get an answer, I will let you know!

  5. I'm so sorry – but everyone here is right. You need an agent who will really work for you and who really hears your voice and believe in you and your work.

    It will happen for you. I promise.

    In the immortal words of Steve Perry, "don't stop believin'…". 🙂

  6. Sorry you got that note Jeffe. But on the flip side, you do need an agent that is deeply connected to your work, and at least you know now that it's not a good fit, and you can go out and land that agent that is totally excited about your work.

    Keep on keeping on lady.

  7. Oh, Jeffe. I am sorry it didn't with this agent. Everyone is right. You do need to connect with an agent, but it still sucks. {{hugs}}

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