Today I ‘unfollowed’ the lit agent who has had my full MS for over two months. It’s not because she told me she doesn’t want to rep the book. Well, a little bit it is, but mostly because I feel like we broke up and I don’t want to see her light-hearted teasing with the authors she has decided to be with. The inside jokes and the cute little pet names. Better I shouldn’t have ‘followed’ her until our relationship was stronger, or at least mutual.
I’m disappointed, of course, that she didn’t like my novel. I’m disappointed because in the two and half months I MAY have imagined the various scenarios of the conversation for when YOU GET THE PHONE CALL. You know, the next step, in which you and said agent talk on the phone and make sure neither of you is crazy. In preparation, I read all the articles that said to have your questions ready and show you’ve done research. In hindsight, I’d say not so much research is either necessary or particularly healthy. Might even be stalkerish.
It stung that there was no request for revision. No offer to read another of my projects. No sweet little, “We can still be friends.” Her statement was personal, though, and I appreciate that. She does not believe that my main character can bear the weight of the action-packed novel that I wrote. Fair enough. At least I know she read it.
But, therein lies the final disappointment. I mourn my own rejection, but I also mourn my character’s rejection. So many young women have strong characters in YA (Annabeth in Percy Jackson, Katniss in The Hunger Games, Bea in Divergent). Well, I want to read about women over twenty years of age who are strong characters. Moms can be adventurous, too. Sure, Bea’s mom is Divergent. Then she DIES. Katniss’s mom USED to be a good healer and it comes back to her…as she waits in the wings. It’s literary tradition — the mother figure has to die so that the husband/father/daughter figure is free to leave home and go on the hero’s journey…and still be a sympathetic character. A mother who leaves…I think they call that a villainess.
My main character was a soccer mom. She was a room parent. Then her son was diagnosed with cancer and she became a cancer mom. She has a unique voice when the end of the world arrives. She believes that protecting her son and fighting for her home is worthwhile. Isn’t there a publisher or literary agent who believes that?