After self-publishing two novels, selling a novel and a short story collection to small presses, and winning a nationwide contest to have my memoir published, I am again seeking a literary agent to represent me in my next project: a contemporary romance.
I finished the manuscript with my daughter in 2014. I resurrected the search for an agent after receiving unfavorable offers directly from two publishers and being unable to successfully negotiate a fair contract for all.
Since I started querying agents, I’ve had a few rejections. The ones filled with kind words keep my spirits up and my stamina strong.
My favorite rejection came from a literary agent who reviewed and responded to my extensive fiction proposal that included not only the standard cover letter, synopsis, and first three chapters, but also a biographical summary of who I am and what I’ve accomplished to a detailed marketing plan and competitive analysis with other titles in the same genre. The agent said, “I found it (the manuscript) fun, the pacing nice, and the main character likeable, but unfortunately I am looking for a more tightly formulated romance right now.”
Not tightly formulated? No problem. A publisher in the United Kingdom wrote, “Don’t give up—it only takes one publisher, one day, at the right moment.” I’m hoping that saying also applies to finding the right literary agent.
In the meantime, I’ll keep writing that non-formula anti-romance that I know no one will want to represent unless they have the courage to fight for a new genre.