Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Walk An Aisle In Their Shoes

To aspiring writers who can’t fathom the latest rejection of their uber-fabulous-sure-to-be-a-bestelling-breakout novel, I highly recommend a quick visit to your local Barnes & Noble. You may find it soothes the soul.

Well, somewhat.

That’s what I happened to do this past weekend. At 10:57 a.m. I equeried an agency with Stealing Amy. By 12:57 p.m. I already had my emailed rejection. Hey, nothing like establishing a new “personal best” for time elapsed between submission and rejection! Can’t say I hold the known record, however. That belongs to a critique partner who, as I recall, got one back in less than an hour.

In some ways it’s nice to be put out of your misery so quickly. On the other hand, it “feels” a little like, gee…they must have taken all of…what…3 seconds to make up their minds? Well, guess what? That’s the general consensus among agents and editors. And that’s why they keep telling us we have to hook them early and completely.

So, back to Barnes & Noble.

I needed a birthday present for the evening, so after licking my wounds (which took about 3 seconds longer than it took the agent to inflict them), I trotted on down to the bookstore. While there, of course, I browsed the romance section.

Guess how many books I picked up to check out? Guess how many I put back? Guess how long it took me to make that snap decision? Right. About 3 seconds.

Over and over again.

Standing in the aisles, faced with all those books, it took something pretty special to get my attention, hold my attention, and transfer it under my arm for purchase.

Just like when agents and editors look at our work.

So what did I end up with? Mostly “buzz” books. Carole Radziwill’s “What Remains”, Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees” (talk about a real buzz book ha ha), and Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking.”

Oh yeah, and one romance. Melissa Senate’s The Breakup Club. Mostly because I’ve liked two of her other books.

Apparently, it just wasn’t a day for taking a chance on a new romance author. Not for me, and not for an agent.

1 comment:

Carol B. said...

Let me know how you liked Bees. I couldn't get very far into it - too much literary descriptions and such. I got bored.

Another one for you to look at...(I'm going to order it 'cause the jacket blurb sounds so good) is Gods in Alabama. Don't know the author, but it sounds good. Check it out. B&N has it listed as a special buy for something like $5.98 - hardback.