It’s a conundrum—for most publishers, a writer needs an agent to market a novel manuscript. But today’s market makes even connecting with an agent damned difficult. Here’s what agent Kristin Nelson said on her blog, Pub Rants:
“I’m passing on really good novels because currently I believe that really good might not be good enough in today’s market.”
I’ve run into that response consistently with a novel of mine, The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles. Several top agents have asked for partials, and here’s their reaction:
“I love vampire kitty, I just don’t know what to do with it.”
“This is unique, voicey and hilarious–and not quite right for me. Gah!!!”
“I laughed out loud and thoroughly enjoyed the feline perspective on vampirism. Still, I worried that it’s the kind of project that many editors would love but wouldn’t necessarily be able to buy.”
“I think it’s original and very cute. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can sell it.”
Okay, so it’s an agent’s job to sell—or, perhaps more accurately, find a willing editor. I understand that.
On the other hand, plenty of beta readers, perfect strangers who encountered my kitty-cat novel on Authonomy, reacted this way:
“Oh, hell, how funny is this?????”
“Patch, the vampire kitty, has risen to the ranks of one of my all-time favorite heroes.”
“Bravo. I was looking for laughs and I got them. What a pleasant escape from the daily grind of life.”
“This is a cat I want to know. I love this character.”
“Pure comic genius.”
“The best vampire book I’ve ever read. Delightfully funny!”
“I wanted you to know that I adore Patch.”
And yet I can’t get this beast represented. As one agent said, “Gah!!”
So what’s a writer to do?
Here’s what I’m going to do, and you can help.
You saw this coming—I’m going to publish this myself. Time is a factor: the vampire craze will simmer down soon or later (especially now that zombies are the new vampire); I have a fresh twist on the vampire myth that just might cut through; and a star character. Here’s a rundown of the steps I’m taking: [Read more…]