Just over three years ago one of my many query letters for my novel, Cherry Bomb, caught the attention of a literary agent. More than the attention—she said she loved the book—and she asked if I would be willing to work with an editor on some revisions. Of course I would.
Four editors and four major revisions later, I am parting ways with this agent. It’s not that I don’t like her. I met her in person on a visit to New York City last May, and I think our personalities are a good fit. But it has taken me this long and dozens of emails to realize that we just might not have the same vision for my novel. I think she sees Cherry Bomb as a potentially good commercial fiction book (think Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) whereas I still see it as Southern literary fiction (think The Secret Life of Bees). Of course those labels have extremely loose boundaries, and at the end of the day I’m not so concerned about which niche the book falls into. But I am concerned about it finding the right advocate and eventually the right publishing home.
And so today I find myself back at square one. Only with a good bit more experience and discernment under my belt. I’m trying to decide whether to look for another agent or seek out an independent press. Thankfully I’ve got other projects on my plate so I’m not sitting around stewing about this. I’ve got eighteen out of 22 essays gathered and revised for the anthology I’m editing, A Second Blooming. And I’m beginning to form ideas for grouping these amazing stories into sections and crafting an introduction. I’m excited to have met a wonderful photographer who will do my author photo in March or early April, when we can find a setting with things that are, well, blooming.
I’m so thankful for my circle of writer friends who are giving me much encouragement, consolation, and advice, as I have been anxious about this situation over the past few days. Writing can be a lonely business, and the publishing world is in such flux that it’s often difficult to maneuver. Stay tuned as I decide on the next steps to getting Cherry Bomb out there!