Heard back from the agent, Melissa Sarver, of the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency in NY.
Here was her response to my proposal.
Thanks for sending your proposal. It is an interesting and timely story; but it’s also a very crowded field and I just wasn’t completely taken with the writing here to feel confident I could get a major publisher on board. I didn’t connect with your voice in a strong enough way to feel like I was on this powerful journey with you. This is very subjective and someone else might feel completely differently. I’m going to step aside and wish you the best of luck in finding the right home for your work. Thanks again for the opportunity to consider.
She got back to me in about 2 weeks. Not bad. I’ve heard it usually takes 6, and last fall, a couple agents didn’t even get back to me at all.
This feedback is crucial for me. After all, how many opportunities do I get to have someone who actually works in the publishing business look at my proposal?
I’ll need to think some more about voice in my writing. It’s true that I’m still not sure myself where my voice is. It varies depending on what I’m writing. My science voice is well developed, but after taking improv and stand up classes over the past year, I’m realizing that I don’t let my natural voice shine very often.
I’ve also discovered that, on occasion, other people don’t agree or connect with my voice. One friend said she was put off by the approach I took in one article. It made me feel insecure because how can you be a successful writer if you can’t connect with your readers? My only response is: find the right readers.
Audience is incredibly important in the publishing business and a writer seems to be most successful when reaching the widest possible audience. Maybe my writing isn’t destined for a major publishing house, but instead a smaller niche house?
I’m thankful that Melissa acknowledged the subjective nature of her review. I can still dream.
Melissa has definitely given me a lot of food for thought.
I also found out today that I was NOT one of the 18 finalists (out of 279) in the She Writes Passion Project, and that I did NOT win the scholarship for the “Build Your Platform” class offered by Christina Katz.
But somehow, I’m not discouraged. As we say in improv class: I SUCK, and I LOVE TO FAIL!
This week I’ll be submitting my scorpion story to The Sun Magazine, although my hubby thinks I should send it to Outside Magazine too. I’ll also tackle a humor article about being the last mom on Earth without a cell phone and a short article about how kids respond to losing a pet. Our 13-year old Kelpie (91 in dog years?) passed away unexpectedly a couple of days ago. She is already missed. Finally, I’ll apply for a scholarship to get into a Momoir writing class, for memoir’s by mommies. All you can do is wish me luck!
I’ll also be sending some articles I’ve already written and published out to other parenting publications. Throwing the net a little wider.
Have a great week. Never give up.