Last Friday, after three and a half months of finger-crossing, I received a verdict from the agent who was reading my first novel, Milo & Violet. Alas, it was a pass. My first agent rejection! Woo! I’m in the club! The reason she gave is that the book is too much a blend of genres, which is the least-negative reason I could possibly hope for, so that’s cool. Forging onwards!
When I started this process I made a vow that with every rejection I would treat myself to an éclair or some other form of scrumptious. Because something good should happen when you get The Big R, right? Right. Though I might just be looking for more excuses to eat éclairs.
“Grandma’s in the hospital? I’ll get the éclairs.”
“Oh gosh the toilet is overflowing. Better eat an éclair.”
“It’s Tuesday. Éclair!”
As for the genre-blending, she’s totally right. That is the essence of the book. I wrote Milo & Violet as a love story for people who don’t usually read love stories. The characters’ internal struggles and psychologies are as important as their relationship. The silly humor is in full swing, but there are still several moments of pathos and introspection. The prose has a literary flair, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. In other words… Yup, big ol’ smoothie blend. It’s got fruits! It’s got veggies! It’s got some weird powder stuff! It’s got—oh that’s where I left my keys.
Of course, this makes the book harder to market and genre-fy, which from a business standpoint I completely understand. But I can’t bring myself to write any other way. The world is a multi-faceted place, and humans are multi-faceted creatures. I am absolutely that, and I think others are too. We’re prisms, and aren’t prisms just the coolest?
This book will find its home eventually. In the meantime, tell me about your first rejection. What have you learned since then? Do you have any special ways of cheering yourself up?