My last post about my recent rejection from a literary agent had me a bit dismayed. Not severely. I mean I’m not ready to hang up my keyboard and forget this whole writing thing. Not even close. But I think I figured out why this agent could like what I wrote but not be able to work with it. And… my realization still leaves me rather vexed. Let me break it down for you.
So, in my limited experience, literary agents only want to read works that fit their genre. And that’s fine. They can read whatever they wanna read. They can represent whatever they wanna represent. But personally, I have found that I have never been able to classify my work that way. I can’t come out and say, “I write erotica,” because that wouldn’t be true. My writing has lots of erotic elements, but it doesn’t stop there. I’m not a one trick pony. Some of my works would fit in women’s lit, historical, romance, urban (I hate that designation); but you see what I’m getting at. My work can’t fit perfectly into any one genre.
Then, that got me thinking. Hmmm. So… so far, every agent and publisher who would even accept and unsolicited manuscript, have tucked themselves neatly into a little box. A box of romance or mystery or sci-fi or horror, but a box nonetheless. And these boxes have rules, criteria or a formula that a piece must follow, if they are going to get a second look. So if you write something, no matter how magnificent it may be, if it does not fit in the box they are hiding in, you will be soundly rejected. That pisses me off.
No. This is not sour grapes or being a sore loser. People lose every day; I’m part of people and I’m used to it. But I’m pissed off because it means that no one is willing to take a risk. No one is willing to say, this isn’t what I am programmed to read and pass forward, but it’s worth seeing how far it may go. And I’m not just talking about what I’m writing, but anyone whose work doesn’t fit into the cookie cutters of traditional publishing. Not guts, no glory. No risk, no reward. Those catch phrases don’t just apply to football or rugby. They apply to all facets of life.
Instead of classifying my work under any specific genre, I will begin by saying that it falls under literary fiction. I’m sure that may become more specific, as time progresses, but that is where I’d place it for now. With this in mind, not only will I continue to move towards self-publishing but I will also continue to look for those agents and/or publishers who may take an interest in a story that does not stay within the lines.
-If you have enjoyed my commentary or my short stories, then please check out my youtube channel, The Wicked Orchard; where you can listen to me read my short stories.