STATUS: Heading home to work on client editing actually. One of those long days. I have two contracts to tackle tomorrow…
What’s playing on the iPod right now? GROOVE IS IN THE HEART by Deee-lite
Ugh! Today I passed on a full manuscript that I’ve had since June. Now it didn’t take me five months to read it and figure out that I needed to say NO. I actually started reading it about 4 weeks after we received it. It took me five months to figure out if there was any way that I could say YES.
What do I mean? I mean that I literally couldn’t decide. I went back and forth and back and forth. My assistant Sara was fully behind the novel and really advocated for it.
What was I hung up on? Several things actually. I personally had a love/hate relationship with the writing. While I was reading, I often had moments where I thought the prose was brilliant and dang it all, manuscripts like this deserve to be in print.
Then I would read a chapter and think, “what the heck is going on here?” I’d have to reread, re-orient myself in the narrative, and then move forward. Trust me, I asked myself numerous times if an edit could fix this.
I think an edit could but it’s going to need to be an intense, in-depth edit. The key question is do I have the time to devote to what I think is a worthy manuscript? Well, I think I could have made the time but ultimately, I started thinking of my submission list and as I went down it, I could just hear the editor responses.
“I personally loved it but couldn’t get support in house.”
“This was inventive but I didn’t see readers feeling emotionally connected to the story (because it’s literary and not commercial fiction but sometimes there’s no arguing that…)
“I hated this.” (Let’s just say the novel had a very complicated narrator and a very complex narrative style and editors will either love it or hate it. There will be no in-between).
Ultimately, I don’t think I could sell it and it was with a lot of regret that I passed. I have a feeling this will be a manuscript that stays with me and that I’ll think about it. I hope another agent can see what I couldn’t.