For those of you tracking my adventure in novel writing, the word is in. At a writer’s conference last June the owner of a literary agency invited me to submit my work, and a few days ago I got this note:
Thank you for allowing me to read your submission for THE ROBOT’S MAKER. I really enjoyed your engaging narrative voice as well as the light touches of humor throughout. However, I unfortunately didn’t quite fall in love with the story in the way I would need to to offer you representation. Therefore, I do not think we would be the correct agents to market this project in today’s competitive book publishing industry.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to read your work. I wish you the best of luck with THE ROBOT’S MAKER and your future endeavors.
Shira S. Hoffman
Now isn’t that about the sweetest rejection letter one could ask for? I’m truly grateful to have achieved my first goal, which was to get a rejection letter from a literary agent.
What’s next for The Robot’s Maker? Well—nothing, really. At this point in my life, I simply cannot undertake another big project or major revisions of this one, and if a literary agent ever accepted the manuscript the first thing she would ask me to do would be to make big changes. Even though the book works—by which I mean that it has been tested on dozens of kids of varying ages around the United States, none of whom are my relatives or owe me money, and all of whom responded with something like “Where’s the sequel?!”—despite the fact that the book works, it flouts an industry convention. The target audience is children, but the hero of the story is not a child. Any literary agent into making a living by what she does will tell me to re-write the whole thing, plot, stock, and barrel, to make the child the hero. And I can’t do that right now.
What’s more, I don’t want to. Readers tell me that The Robot’s Maker is a fast, fun read that keeps them reading ‘til it’s over, but I’m here to tell you that it isn’t the Great American Novel or anything. It won’t be a monument people remember me by. It was a practice project to teach me about novel writing and to entertain some kids, and it did both. When the time is right, I hope to do something new and more challenging that will motivate me to suffer through the many revisions and re-revisions that great novels demand.
But in the meantime, I am thrilled to say that my daughter Bernadette is a NanoWriMo winner for the second year running. I have almost no idea what she wrote about this time, but she banged out her 50,000 words before the end of November—a few hours before, actually—and got the t-shirt. I am proud enough to pop!