Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dystopian Apologies or Trend Chasing by Accident

Poor ATNL, Still in the Submission Phase
About 10 years ago, before I committed to writing on a regular basis, I began work on a manuscript that eventually became my current completed work, ALL THINGS NOW LIVING. The problem? Although it's technically not dystopian, it's, as one agent said to me, "Dystopian enough." What does that mean? Although I started the project long before HUNGER GAMES hit the bookshelves, Suzanne Collins got there first, in a big way. Riding her wave were many others and by the time my manuscript was polished enough to submit, many agents and houses were glutted with dystopian projects and weren't looking for anything else.

The situation can be frustrating. I didn't chase a trend, the trend found me and passed me by, but my manuscript is still less marketable than it could have been. What's a writer to do?

1. Don't give up. If you have quality work, agents or a small independent publishing house may still be interested. Keep submitting! (That's what I'm doing. I have several fulls out on request. Better than nothing, right?)

2. Consider self-publishing. Again, if your manuscript is polished and has received praise from professionals, a writer no longer has to put a less-marketable book in the sock drawer never to be seen again. Get it out there yourself!

3. Work on the next manuscript. Spending hundreds if not thousands of hours on a new project when your first one didn't sell can be discouraging, but face it, you can't stop writing so you might as well finish something. If you keep improving your craft chances are eventually your manuscript will hit the market at the right time and you'll have a sale!

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