Back in 2012, a book called “Vampire Syndrome” made the rounds of New York publishing houses. I decided to look back on one of the publisher’s rejections and analyze it from my present perspective, two years later.
Based on the paranormal titles released by that publisher in 2013 and 2014, I can now see there is no way in hell that “Vampire Syndrome” would have ever had a chance to be published by this company. Most amusing and ironic in retrospect how someone claimed this company wanted “ground-breaking” new paranormal titles. Virtually all the paranormal titles they’ve released in the last couple of years rival Harlequin for hewing closely to “company formula.” A litany of titles I would not be interested in even reading, for free. Much less writing in that “style.”
“Sour Grapes?” Hardly. I let out a big sigh of relief that I’m not signed to this company, with people assuming my work was similar to those titles.
The words an agent told me back in 2012 have more relevance to me now. The agent advised me to read and analyze the books the New York houses were releasing in my category. This was not a reference to the quality of the manuscript, as I thought back then. Indeed, this company’s rejection letter praised the quality of my writing. What the agent really meant was to read the company’s released titles and check how closely your submission adhered to the formulas of the company you were submitting to.
Dare I say, “if I knew then what I know now”, I wouldn’t have even bothered to shop “Vampire Syndrome” around New York in the first place?
Once I cast off any half-formed aspirations of
butchering re-working “Vampire Syndrome” to better fit in with the NY formulae, I was then free to develop my saga as I wished. Book Two, “Vampire Conspiracy”, is completed and will be released early next year. I’m currently writing Book Three, “Vampire Invasion.” Both have a few “formula-shattering” moments that might have had N.Y. editors swallowing rolls of Rolaids or slamming their foreheads on their desks, but I don’t have to worry about such things now. When you’re outside the “formula” box, you really can break new ground, not just claim to do so.