I have officially submitted my completed novel, Gather the Broken 49 times. 24 rejections, 23 non-responses and 2 hits. Those are the stats of my latest adventures. Of the two hits by agents who requested more of my book, both of them loved my writing. One wasn't able to accept me due to the storyline being too similar to another book she'd sold and another said my book was too similar to other books on the market, thereby making it a "hard sell."
Yes, I'll admit it. I was crushed at first. I know I'm a damned good writer. But rejections are harder to take than one might believe. Especially when you get a taste of near success only to be turned down. I think the most frustrating part is that I researched the hell out of this freaking genre. I've read close to different 50 books from varying authors throughout the genre itself. I thought I had steered clear of the repetitive blunders that I saw even through some of the published books I had read. I'd be reading and thinking to myself . . . are you serious?! THIS was published, yet I can't get anyone to give me the time of day?? To make matters worse, I'd see timeline issues, grammatical errors and misspelled words in these books that were deemed worthy enough to publish. The horror of it all!! It was a good time to look my book in the face and see what was the missing ingredient.
Basically, what I realized, is that subconsciously I was trying to emulate some of those novels. The voice of the book was not really my own. In my attempt to please agents and readers alike, I'd become something I was not. Now, I'm not saying that I don't love my book as it currently is . . . I still believe in the essence of it. But it needs to be re-written in my own style of writing and written the way I want to write it. Not how I think it will be received.
In doing so, I've found a new angle for the book, steering away from the "Paranormal Romance" aspect and veering head-on into Urban Fantasy, which is really what I wanted to do with it from the beginning . . . but I was afraid to go there. I was afraid to be all dark and twisty with it. Well, not anymore! I'm close to finishing chapter two, and I have to say that I'm totally in love with this version. It's grittier, edgier and darker . . . kinda like my soul.
If you're a writer, and you're struggling with your own writing voice, heed this advice: Do what feels instinctual in your writing. Listen to that little voice in the back of your mind. It's there for a reason. Trust me, you'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration if you do. I didn't listen to mine but I now have a lot of knowledge under my belt, more confidence in my writing abilities and a better novel on it's way because of said knowledge. I guess some of us just have to learn the hard way . . .
Write on . . . write hard!