Zinnia Hope, author of multi-genres and erotic romances; also writing as J. Emberglass
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Tuesday, September 12
I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve had three well-known literary agents request partials of one of my novels. Yesterday, I received one through snail mail. It was a rejection. Although I’m used to such things, the rejection itself didn’t bother me. Afterall, Z’s had one NYC agent, she’ll get another, right?
What pissed me off was the agent’s reason. (Since one must have permission to post letters or emails—yes, it’s true—I’m going to paraphrase.) She called my style and premise very appealing, but said she had no clue how to market my material nor the confidence to try.
What the hell???
I have received so many letters and emails like this of late I could just scream. Agents and publishers rail about wanting something unique, but they also want that sure sale so they’ll see something unique and back off. I think this is a wagon full of chicken shit. There are just too many horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies of various sub-genres to contradict this cop-out excuse. When I’m at various bookstores, I’m amazed at the array of fiction available nowadays.
But, at the same time, I received an email yesterday from an agent who requested a very large partial of the same manuscript.
I suppose part of my aggravation is the erotic romance market. Now before someone flames me for dissing erotic romances, hear me out. I have nothing against this genre. I mean, come on. I write it too. It's just that I’ve been writing sizzling material for too many years and I'm burnt out on it. I also write other genres, but sex sells and the erotic romance market is booming right now. Frankly, Z’s tired of writing about sex. I love a solid, poignant romance, but do I have to always write about his hoohaw inserted into her dripping hoohoo to sell it? Holy spotted milk cows on a Popsicle stick! I’m so sick of it!
Then there’s the fluff. It was one of the reasons my last agent and I didn’t see eye-to-eye. I write gripping material that makes the reader pay attention and possibly think or react. He wanted fluffy stuff. Z doesn’t do fluffy stuff. Well, if it’ll pay a bill I do, but I won’t write a fluff novel.
Publishing is so contradictory. Write what you know! Yeah, and you’re told you’re a know-it-all or don’t know what you’re talking about. Write what makes you happy! Sure, and you’re told that you would do better as a INSERT GENRE writer instead. Sex sells! Yes, it does and it can be very boring to write too. Write something unusual and it will sell! That’s a lie, and it’s a sure way to see an editor crawl into his desk drawer mumbling he’ll lose his job if he contracts that manuscript.
I write what I write. I also get the cold shoulder in a lot of cyber haunts because I do write well and I have an imagination that’s freaky and creative. Agents often say things like I sure wish I could sign you as a client, but I just don’t know how to market this. To which I reply with my motto: Literary agents are like orgasms. They never last long enough to be truly satisfying.
Well, maybe I should write a story about kicking chickens, habanera-laced chocolate bars and a mother who refuses to give up on her dreams—oh, but let’s not leave out the graphic sex scenes with the next-door neighbor or the farm hand...
I think I need to go find some stout swamp water and mellow out.