I’m editing my manuscript again. I was going to wait another 2-3 weeks for the last of the agents to respond to my queries by e-mail or by silence but I’ve decided to go ahead and start now. I’m pretty sure the last handful will reject me…with silence no less and I believe I know why.
I’ve known for about 1-2 months now that my beginning needs to be completely rewritten because it’s an info dump. I tried to make it interesting but an interesting info dump is still an info dump. There’s no getting around that it can be written better by insinuating the information throughout the story and resisting the urge to dump it all at once. What I didn’t know was that I may have been misleading agents by telling them in the query that the manuscript is for YA. I thought it was. I wasn’t aware of a new catagory called “New Adult” that covers my story’s age group much better than YA did.
Young Adult – ages 13-17
New Adult – ages 18-29
So when agents read my query and saw YA, they expected one thing but the manuscript gave them something else hence the rejection. The only personalized rejection I received was from the one agent whom I commented to about the specific ages my manuscript was geared toward. She was looking for younger and I said I thought my manuscript could be stretched to fit the older half of her desired age group.
So! What do we know about this new catagory other than the fact that I rarely see it mentioned in an agent’s list of what they’re looking for?
- Burgeoning/Controversial catagory/genre for fiction that lies between Young Adult and Adult
- Word Count: about 60k-85k
- Ages 18-29
- Examples of published works: Cora Carmack’s Losing It, Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster, and Sylvia Day’s Reflected in You
- Themes/Chief Features (generally): childhood innocence fades with life experience, sexuality, leaving home, careers, life, young protagonists, etc
There’s a blog, NA Alley, that was created back in 2012 that promotes New Adult fiction.
Reading over the information I’ve found about New Adult fiction, I’m forced to see that I’ve been duping myself this entire time. My manuscript fits into this NA catagory perfectly. No wonder I’ve been getting rejected this whole time. When I’m done editing the info dump into the story, I’ll work on writing a brand new query letter and finding agents for that again.
And the process begins almost anew. Can you hear my half-stifled sigh?
As a writer, I know you must have written something by now. Truth be told, you probably have tons of things you’ve started to write. Maybe you’ve finished them, maybe not. This week, go back and edit something you’ve written. Even if you only manage to edit one page this week, do it. Obviously I’m not talking about poetry unless you write poetry that’s epic in length like Beowolf or something.
Good luck and have fun! This is one challenge I excel at…if you consider sitting staring at my computer while drool drips down my chin excelling…