I think writers share a lot of common fears.
What if this thing NEVER happens:
– complete that first manuscript
– nail a damn query letter
– compose a decent synopsis
– sign with an agent
– score a book deal
– write full time
– win an award
– hit a bestseller list
– finish another manuscript ever ever ever
What if this thing DOES happen:
– end up with a bad agent
– accept a lowball offer out of desperation
– give away too many rights in one whack
– lose my creative soul in the process
– can’t make a deadline
– go broke and die of starvation
– the publisher folds
– only sell, like, 10 copies
– receive nothing but horrible reviews
– lose my mind
And I know some fears are more personal to each of us.
I’m fearful of a lot of those universal things. Right now, I also have a particular fear of a very specific kind. I have an uber-clear idea of the type of book—my brand, I guess—I want to write, what I want to put out in the world. And that is: amazingly written YA. (Duh!) Drilling down further: amazingly written, quirky YA. And to add one more layer, amazingly written, quirky YA featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists.
Right now (as in RIGHT NOW) there seems to be a ?hunger? for that type of book. I saw evidence of it on editors’ and reviewers’ year-end lists. It was threaded all through the most recent #MSWL. I catch hints from publishing peeps. I’ve read some outstanding examples of it (Grasshopper Jungle, I’ll Give You the Sun) & see others in deal announcements and (promising!) books scheduled to hit shelves any day now (Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Seriously, have you read the first chapter that’s up RIGHT NOW? Do it.).
Here’s my twofold fear: like paranormal romance, dystopian, [insert past trend here], I’m going to miss the window. The craving will be satiated & it will go away. Honestly, how many of a certain type of book can the market hold? Publishers must “balance” their lists. Even if it could sustain more, a sense of familiarity & boredom sets in & acquisition shifts toward a fresher thing. And a second part to this, which feels even more personal: as amazing as the books mentioned above are, I want amazingly written, quirky YA featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists, which is written by LBGTQ+ authors.
Maybe that niche is just too damn small?
Or maybe there are some AMAZING books with those attributes I don’t know of. Maybe they’ve already been purchased, are going through copyedits right now, and I’ll discover them soon. Maybe I have completely no idea of how any of the authors writing LGBTQ+ protagonists identify. There’s perennial favorite David Levithan, of course. Who am I missing? Help me.
Great books are great books. No doubt. I’m so thankful that the ones that exist do indeed exist! The teens and adults reading them deserve them. And maybe I don’t have the chops to create an amazingly written, quirky YA featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists. But, damn, maybe I do. Maybe I already have that completed manuscript. Maybe the one I’m working on right now is yet another one.
But what if the entry window closes before I find out? How many phenomenal PNRs, or books-that-happened-to-have-vampires, or dystopians missed their window? How many ridiculously original works will never become published books because they didn’t make the cut-off? Because the timing was against them? Because the market was already saturated? Because it was time to move on? We’ll never know.
So, yeah, I have those big, universal fears shared by a lot of (most?) writers seeking traditional publishing. But I also, just like you, have another set of fears probably particular to a subset of writers, and even fears that are mine and mine alone.
Sadly, this post is more about what I’m scared of than providing a fix for those fears. I’m definitely interested in your thoughts.
Do you know of any new amazingly written, quirky YA featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists, which are actually written by LBGTQ+ authors? TELL ME. PLEASE!
Forget my personal fear for a minute. What’s yours? What’s that specific ~thing~ that makes you fret & sweat when it comes to your own writing, hopes & publishing goals?
Spill your scaredy cat guts in the comments and let me know. Maybe by naming them, we can do something about them.