Today brought a slight existential crisis, an hour or two of freaking out, and – at the end – a frightening realization: there may be circumstances in which I will not accept an agent’s offer of representation.
Even a month ago, this would have seemed insane to me. Turn down an agent? What? Madness! Take it no matter how insane the offer!!
Mmmm… no. Not anymore.
Right now, a lovely agent has requested a full manuscript from me. I’m delighted with this. Alex is one of my favorite stories, and I really want to see him in print. However, since the last agent-go-round, I’ve received some amazing feedback, and have begun a very harsh editing process.
The result is fantastic. I know it is. It’s some of the best stuff I’ve ever written – not the best in the world, nothing like that, but for me, this is good enough that even I can tell the difference. So why does this matter?
Because the agent asked for the old version of the manuscript – I submitted to her so many months ago that I’d given that agency up as a lost cause. Because the key difference between the old manuscript and the new one is the filter was removed – I’m writing what was in my head, not what I think others may “like” or “approve of.”
So what if she only wants the old one because it’s family-friendly, and not the new?
She asked for the full. This is a huge, huge deal. I’m deeply, incredibly honored – and I also know that the new chapters are a thousand percent better than the old. I’ve managed to answer the question for myself after a day of real struggle. If she’s interested in the new manuscript, we’re in business.
If she only wants the old ‘safe’ one, then we’re not. I know I can do better. I am doing better, and will continue to do better – and I don’t want my first published thing to be anything but my best.
I don’t know when I grew this kind of confidence. I hope it sticks around a while.