Saturday, March 21, 2015


There may be five stages of grief - but many of us linger on one stage or another. Denial is popular, Anger is overwhelming, Bargaining is a cruel temptation ... Depression may be more powerful, even, than anger. Acceptance is the elusive one.

I'm considering it right now.

The Ax and the Vase is a great novel.

It's been my teacher and my child, something that ushered me into the world of an author, as opposed to a writer. I'm proud of it, and it's a hell of a read.

But. It doesn't seem to be a a viable product.

It's been a couple of months now since any agent even requested a read, and - good as it is - frankly, I just believe it's got an uphill battle in store in publishing, and ... if my plan is to be published, I have to provide the best possible material.

Ax is ITS best possible self, but it is not a market mover right now.

I haven't entirely decided to retire it; the fact that there are more agents to query is either a problem or a tempation.

But work on the WIP has become compelling, and though my faith in what Ax IS is unshakeable, if I'm not realistic about the industry, I'm not its best steward. And that's what I want to be. So I'm thinking it may be best to concentrate elsewhere. I'm opening myself to that possibility.

Anyone who's read me much knows I'm not very precious about my darling, special work, but they also know how much it means to me to have this consideration on my mind. My commitment to Ax is not minimal, nor is my confidence. But the odds are speaking to me, and I can't pretend not to hear. That would not serve Ax and would also hobble the WIP and the rest of my works.

This way of thinking has come on me a little suddenly - but, thank heavens, it's also coming at a time when my excitement about the WIP is building. I can't say there's no intentional connection there, either. If I have the WIP to sustain my hope, letting go of Ax would be ... not less difficult. But possible.

And so - I am considering possibilities. Feedback welcome, but most of my readers here at the blog have not been beta readers of the novel itself, so I understand if the comments stay quiet or theoretical. :)



Anonymous said...

You're in a dangerous place (he says from personal experience). I have a very good novel written that I shopped around relentlessly for a year. I even had an agent ask for rewrites (though she eventually declined). And in the meantime I got involved in my WIP and let the good novel languish. I haven't sent it out for more than a year even though I consider it viable. And the WIP is a long way from finished.

I'd suggest you find some way to balance both efforts and keep submitting Ax. Winning the submissions game is, I'm convinced, a numbers game as much as anything else. 100, 200, more submissions is how it must be done.

DLM said...

Aw - thank you.

There's a lot to the numbers game, yes - but there's also the fact that I've pretty much exhausted the options I think. Histfic about ancient European kings just isn't on anybody's list these days, and - honestly - I don't mind seeing that. I think it's a good thing, even if Ax is a good novel (for what it is).

Ax was on submission about a year and a half ago, underwent a final polish, and the final has now itself been out since last summer. The 1-pager synopsis is good, my query is good. The quality is there, but if nobody's demanding quality muscular historicals by debut women authors, that just doesn't matter.

I'm not being a sad sack, either. My pragmatism is almost extreme, compared to most authors I know (published or not). I've been slow in this process, it's NOT getting the kind of requests for reads that it should, and I don't even know where to LOOK anymore to find agents who'll even look at historical (non-romance). And just last night I actually tried to find more resources, and what came back was - everything I've done.

It just feels like the market is no place right now for this work. The WIP, though, is very strong. Yeah, it's far, far from being done, and serving two masters may not actually be the right balance. It seems like I need to consider drawering Ax *for the time being*, see if I can find success with a different work, and maybe Clovis can come back once that finds its success.


And there, again, is that *sigh* ...