The editor at William Morrow who received my not-quite-orphaned manuscript (because Jennifer Sawyer Fisher hadn’t gotten to acquire it before she left the biz, it hadn’t reached orphan status) didn’t like my writing.
That’s right. Two top editors–one a legend of her time–plus another had liked it enough to want to buy the book. The fourth editor…meh.
Gives you a hint as to how subjective this business is.
My agent’s suggestion was to write another book.
This was only my second submitted novel. (Remember? The first didn’t get so much as flicker of interest. In retrospect–here, from the perspective of umpteen years later–I don’t blame ‘em. That puppy was ROUGH. But the agent who signed me didn’t think so. Again–subjective).
Anyway, on your second sub you still have energy. I was positively gung ho to write a third. I would write the book in the series that would’ve been first if I had known I was writing a series when I wrote the other one.
If you’re not following this, I don’t blame you.
And it doesn’t matter. What matters is that after almost a year spent first writing, then revising a new novel, it went out to the editors who wanted my first, plus the replacement editor at Morrow, and…
Not one flicker of interest.
Don’t you worry, though. I’d learned my lesson by now and was not going to be caught unawares with a whole book left to write.
I had one at the ready, and confidently, all bright-eyed and forward thinking, I sent it off to my loyal, dogged agent.
She read fast–just one of this agent’s many virtues.
I was sitting at my desk at the mental health clinic where I was still working, one day a week, my newish baby left in the care of my dad.
“Well, I read your new book,” my then agent said.
Note the “then”?
“Yes?” I answered, breathlessly.
“Um…I didn’t really like it,” she replied.