Some of you may be wondering what is going with my novel… well, it isn’t good news.
I’ve been submitting it to various agents and am now almost at the bottom of my list. Although some have had very kind words to say about the novel, none to date have taken it on (partly because it wasn’t their cup of tea). If I get to the bottom of that list, then I don’t see how it is going to get published.
Open door submissions to publishers are like hen’s teeth (the recent HarperVoyager one not withstanding). And I’m not going down the self-publishing route because I don’t have the marketing wherewithal or talent.
So basically, I’ll be filing my novel away as an experiment that did not work.
So what lessons can I learn from this?
Well… whilst my novel was set on a reasonably familiar terrain (or should I say lunarrain?), there was a heck of lot of innovation in it in terms of sound technical stuff… stuff I haven’t seen elsewhere in science fiction. But nobody seems to be interested in really new stuff.
People seem to be more interested in fantasy…. e.g. the recent Angry Robot open door was limited to fantasy… which backs up my argument in the previous paragraph. So it’s a case of checking the market place before writing anything.
I’ve been developing ideas for a follow-on novel. I’ve even come up with an engineering explanation for the duality of light (i.e. light is both particle and waveform), which I keep poking at now and then to try to find a flaw in it. But without my first novel getting published, what is the point of working on the second? So another lesson is that if you look like having a series of works, don’t start work on the next until the one you written is accepted for publication.
The inevitable conclusion of all this? If you want to get your work published, write something that is not new and follows in the footsteps subject-wise of what is in the market now.
The trouble is that after writing my novel, I would find such writing mundane and boring. I wouldn’t get the buzz out of it. It would just feel totally dead to me.
So what would be exciting to write about that I can get to market? That is the real question, and the question that a lot of serious writers need to answer.
…and at the moment I don’t know what answer would work for me.
There is one further implication… the recent push by the technologists to glean ideas from science fiction does not match my experience here. So I’m finding it difficult to understand how they are going to get anything out of the exercise.