Persevering Through Industry Changes :: A Writer’s Struggle to Continue

UPDATE. Okay, so I didn’t actually give up on my first book. I just started an even more extensive tweaking session. It’s funny how, when I’m writing my novel, I get all these ideas for other books. But as soon as I put mine down and begin something new, I miss the old and familiar story. I miss the characters. I miss the plans I had for their futures. That being said, I returned to my original book. I’m still writing that second book when I get ideas for it. But nothing beats my original. All it took for me to see that was to put down the teen books and start reading in the YA (9-12) genre again.

It’s funny how another published book can either shoot down your confidence or boost it up. My editor assigned me three books to review (for the website I write for). Two were supposedly “teen” and one was “YA”. After reading the first (and I’m not going to name any names, because I like and respect this author), I realized that the target audience was way off. I’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of books in these age groups, so I know a thing or two about target audiences. Well, this “teen” book was definitely not old enough for a teen audience. Also, (and I promise you I am not a cocky person AT ALL) that book had nothing on mine. It was so basic and yet hard to follow, the explanations for the goings on in that world were virtually non-existent and it was extremely challenging to visualize. It only took 50 pages for me to realize that my book has so much more depth and thought put into it.

Next I read, Michael Scott’s The Warlock, and I didn’t like it. Granted, this book is for teens. And also granted, I did jump into this series at book fire. However, when The Alchemyst (book 1) first came out years ago, I read it and was extremely disappointed. I guess I judged the book by its dazzlingly magical cover. Which I do. A lot. But since reading that book, I’ve had a ton of kids come into my used book store looking for Michael Scott’s series. And they all love his books. It shows me that there is an audience for pretty much any writing style. Anyhow, back on track: I read The Warlock and there were so many characters that I had a very hard time following the plot. Which, again, gave me another ounce of confidence in my own writing.

Then I read The Fourth Circle of Heck: Fibble by Dale E. Basye. I’m not saying the book was bad. It just wasn’t my taste. I found there were waaay to many h-e-double-hockey-sticks puns, and I found they interrupted the fluidity of the story. Again, I admit that I haven’t read the first three books in the series, so that hinders my understanding of scenery, personalities and continued plotlines. But I will say that over the years that I’ve been reviewing young adult books, I’ve read a ton of sequels without having read the first books in the series’. And there are very few that don’t stand on their own. Often, I don’t notice that the book is sequel until I finish reading it. 

So after reading these three books, I regained my confidence and my motivation to continue working on my novel. But thank you to those of you who are encouraging me to persevere. I wasn’t giving up because of the rejections. I’m not worried about those. I was giving up because of industry trends. But now I’m thinking, if you can’t join a trend, change it.

Scrapping Your First Book :: Three Years of Work Down the Tube

Today, I had an experience that was devastating and rejuvenating at the same time. I realized that the book I’ve been working for 3+ years is not going to hack it. At least not in the way I’ve planned. I put the book aside today and began writing another–a teen sci-fi this time. That’s what is popular right now. That is was agents will be looking for. So that is what I’m going to write. It’s a big decision. Life-changing even. And yet with my future prospects at stake, all I can think about is how I’m going to break the news to my mom.

I still hope I can make my first idea work one day. If only I could start with book two. Then it would be great. Maybe that’s what I should do then. Start with book two. Maybe that isn’t such a bad idea after all. Let me rethink this and get back to you guys.