Received my first, cautiously interested email from an agent yesterday. Two caveats to her interest: 1. the project needs to be retitled (her word: “bland”), and 2. she has concerns about the love story being strong enough. In order to sell the novel, she needs to be able to advertise the story’s “historical romance.”
Frankly, I’m elated she even bothered to sound me out on those issues. Most publishing mags and guides seem to suggest that agents won’t bother with a submission unless it’s absolutely the BEST it can be. Thank God for real agents with an interest in potential.
The title was bland, so I spent a solid few hours calling everyone I know and dissolving into tears… kidding. But I did call 1/3rd of my many brothers for advice, peruse relevant quotes for possible ripping of lines (Shakespeare, the Bible, online quote sites, Anais Nin, you know), write up a page of possibilities, have Carl shortlist his favs, disagree with him, agree with him, narrow it down to two that are, I think, quite spiffy.
Reworking the romance line would be a little harder, but now that I’ve figured out how to do it, I’m eager to try. Too much of the novel’s theme is invested in the playout of the heroine’s NOT getting the man she wants, that I can’t just generate some amazing guy for her, BUT the co-heroine (a younger sister. Think: Sense and Sensibility with different issues) has a fully-credible love story, and with a little reworking younger sis Lydia and her guy could have their romance more center-stage.
Well, I’m not sure how much the newbie writer is allowed to barter with the established agent, but I wrote back, offered my new title, outlined what I would like to do with the story, thanked her for the good criticism, and asked whether she would be interested in seeing the revised manuscript.
Part of me feels like she can’t lose. Agreeing to consider it is a far cry from agreeing to accept it, and hopefully she sees that I’m willing to work hard, make changes, and accept criticism. Then again, maybe it’s not accommodating enough.
Can always, always second-guess myself, but I’m choosing to not fixate on it today. Going to spend the day working on my crime novel instead.
And, ok, checking my email.
Hopefully less than fifty thousand times today.