Is it, or is it not; that is the ultimate question

I find myself often listening to YA and NA book genres and thinking, “Yes this is what I’ve been told my novel series is, but my story isn’t anything like this. How can my novel series be considered either of these options?”

I am struggling a bit in the category of what genre my book is. Granted, all the descriptions point to a Fantasy/Adventure New Adult….I feel my novel is absolutely fantasy and adventure but no where near the new adult or young adult category that everyone keeps telling me it should be.

Not that I look down on those genres, there are a TON of very successful authors that write YA and NA, I just don’t feel that my novel fits into the structure. Here’s why:

  • Every time I read a NA or YA book, I feel the plot is centered around the mindset of one single (and typically female) character. You follow their thoughts, their character arch, and their achievements and setbacks. Very few NA / YA stories I have read take into account the thoughts, feelings, mindset, and feelings from the other characters point of view. The few I have read that DO take the mindset of the other characters in mind didn’t do it all that successfully.
  • Most YA / NA books are first person perspective. That makes sense in wanting to follow the inner dialogue of the character, but for my point of view it just doesn’t make sense.
  • My main character isn’t the most beautiful, amazing, perfect person. She’s quite angry and confused with her life and the events that are happening. There is more of an internal struggle at hand that an emotional romantic issue.

Now, this isn’t me hating on YA or NA, not AT ALL! I love the stories I have read (save for one book series that I love, that ended up HATING by the final installment of the series. That one will remain nameless because I would never talk trash on another writer).  The issue that I see my entire book series more as an epic fantasy adventure rather than a YA / NA book series. The issue….I have been told time and time again to NOT write a book that is over 130K words. Which, if I was to be completely honest, I don’t feel that I NEED more than 120K words to get the story to where I’d like it to be. But have you ever read an epic fantasy that isn’t a tomb?

Praetorian Rising follows the same story structure as Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth, and J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings. There is a semblance of The Hunger Games in my novel, but only in the structure of world building not so much in the style of writing.

I know this is something I should have solidly locked down, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to fully accept that I am a YA or NA writer. So far I haven’t had an agent grab at my series either, so maybe they read my book and they think….’no, this is totally NOT YA or NA. This author has no idea what she is saying.’

What I listed my novel as for the moment when sending out to possible agents; Fantasy/ Adventure NA. Is this correct? I have no f’ing clue.

shrug

The Dude…He Abides

Today at work has been a bit rough, rushing through a mad delivery. Then I look at pictures of my cute adorable pug The Dude and all is right again in the world.

Back to work. I have three more queries out into the ether, that is a success for today! Tomorrow I plan on starting in on Book 2 of the Praetorian Rising series. As my editor would say: “Don’t stop writing just because you are in query mode. Now is the time to write book 2, 3 and 4!”

 

Rejection Letter 19

I’m on rejection number 19. I know, not too many at all you say! But, I have sent out over 50 queries, and have ONLY received 19 rejections. That is a win, in some regards. I do honestly find enlightenment and encouragement in getting these rejections. I am getting closer, I can feel it.

This morning I received the most uplifting rejection so far and I wanted to share this with you:

Thank you so much for allowing our agency to consider your material. Unfortunately, after carefully reviewing your query, we’ve determined that this particular project isn’t the right fit for our agency at this time.  As I’m sure you know, the publishing industry changes swiftly now, as do readers’ tastes and trends. As a result, our own agents’ needs shift and change, as well; therefore, we would like to encourage you to consider querying us with future projects as you may deem appropriate. 

 Again, thank you very much for allowing us this chance to consider your material, and we wish you all the best in your publishing endeavors.

 Sincerely,

– The peeps that sent me a rejection 🙂 Because I am not going to name them!

Now full disclosure, I don’t think it was my novel so much as the query and the noted genre that I listed. This is where I am even having a bit of an internal struggle. Most would classify my book as New Adult Fantasy, some might consider it YA but I HATE to do that. The YA river of books getting published is just flooded with new content almost every day. I feel like in so many ways everyone is a bit tired of YA and they want something new. I feel like I have something new but unfortunately it has too many qualities of New Adult (which is a small difference from YA) to be considered something that is “different”.

For reference, here is my query:

Dear (Un-named Agent),

I’m currently seeking representation for my young adult fantasy novel, PRAETORIAN RISING. My manuscript is complete at 99,000 words and is the first in a planned series. Told in the distinctive voice of both protagonist and dynamic characters, PRAETORIAN RISING will appeal to fans of Sarah J. Maas and Marissa Meyer.

After waking in Sierra Village, a small town within the Kingdom of Aspera, Camille Scipio discovers she has no recollection of her previous life. She soon finds that despite the loss of her past, she has an exceptional range of extraordinary talents in fighting, hunting, and self-defense that speak of a possible dangerous path. After an attack on her village by a mysterious beast, Camille learns the truth of her identity; she is a genetically enhanced assassin; a Praetorian. Having little say in her trajectory, she is pulled into a crumbling rebellion against the tyrannical High King of Aspera, joining Vesyon Vestra, a mysterious friend of her family and Theo Shaehy, the self-proclaimed love of her past. Struggling to understand her place within the ranks of the rebellion, Camille is confronted with the horrors of her past deeds and the possibility of losing herself to an overwhelming darkness within. She must soon make a choice; loyalty to those fighting against the oppressive High King or succumbing to the crazed monster within and forging her own path.

Thank you so much for considering my submission, I look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely,
Jessica McSpadden

Now over all, I do believe there are some changes to be made to my query letter, the number one being that I don’t have anything for a bio. Most talk about their writing or publishing achievements but I am so green that I don’t have any achievements to speak of.

They said writing would be hard, they said that working on a novel is a very solo experience and overall it’s one of the biggest struggle in any writers life. I can agree with this. There is nothing I can do to change anyone’s mind. I have to just hope and pray that someone will see me for what my story is. Someone will see the gold mine, someone will discover what world I have created and think, “I finally found the one that will go the distance!”

Then I shrug and remember that at the end of the day it’s not about ultimate glory, I only want to know that there are people out there reading a story that I am very incredibly passionate about and maybe they will find passion in this story and these characters just as much as I have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Un-named Agent),

I’m currently seeking representation for my young adult fantasy novel, PRAETORIAN RISING. My manuscript is complete at 99,000 words and is the first in a planned series. Told in the distinctive voice of both protagonist and dynamic characters, PRAETORIAN RISING will appeal to fans of Sarah J. Maas and Marissa Meyer.

    

After waking in Sierra Village, a small town within the Kingdom of Aspera, Camille Scipio discovers she has no recollection of her previous life. She soon finds that despite the loss of her past, she has an exceptional range of extraordinary talents in fighting, hunting, and self-defense that speak of a possible dangerous path. After an attack on her village by a mysterious beast, Camille learns the truth of her identity; she is a genetically enhanced assassin; a Praetorian. Having little say in her trajectory, she is pulled into a crumbling rebellion against the tyrannical High King of Aspera, joining Vesyon Vestra, a mysterious friend of her family and Theo Shaehy, the self-proclaimed love of her past. Struggling to understand her place within the ranks of the rebellion, Camille is confronted with the horrors of her past deeds and the possibility of losing herself to an overwhelming darkness within. She must soon make a choice; loyalty to those fighting against the oppressive High King or succumbing to the crazed monster within and forging her own path.

Thank you so much for considering my submission, I look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely,

Jessica McSpadden