Thank you again to everyone who's responded today! Tomorrow I plan on getting a new version of the query out. It's really quite an experience being on this forum, hearing so many different viewpoints on my writing. Definitely something new. I think I'm growing as a writer for it.
secondstar87, thank you--yes, I've always been a pretty brave person. I feel like literature can do so much in our world. This book, if it does get published, might actually have a chance to fix some of the gridlock in our world, I think. I'm glad you like the characters. Hopefully the readers will feel the same :D
Now . . .
OK. Perhaps it is time for me to address some of this.
First of all, Springfield, just because no one's ever done something before, that you're aware of, or even that I'm aware of, doesn't mean it's not going to work. Nor does it necessarily mean it will work--but I think all I've experienced from you virtually from the moment I joined this forum is a stream of reasons why everything I've written is bad. I don't mind constructive criticism, but really, how often do you actually make attempts to encourage writers out there--or, say, direct them toward useful resources that could actually help them increase their chances for publication?
I AM trying to increase your chances for publication. Telling you it'll be fine, or that you can do anything if you try hard enough, isn't helpful, imo.
Or is your primary intent on this site to check off a list with every possible reason a given book might fail, and discourage writers from even trying? That's sure what it seems like. How many blossoming writers have you torpedoed before they even had a chance to spread their wings and fly?
I don't know what 'a chance to spread their wings and fly' is supposed to mean. You, and everyone, are free to do whatever you wish, obviously. I'm trying to help you by keeping you from sending out queries that will just get autorejected and burn those agents.
I appreciate your constructive criticism--I do--but maybe I ought to give you a little taste of it yourself.
I don't know you well, but just from my dealings with you within the last few days, you seem like an incredibly inflexible person. Instead of looking for ways a book might succeed and be enjoyed by readers, all you seem to see are reasons for it to fail, based on all the requirements you've read out there. Granted that this is from the very cursory contact I've had with you on this thread, but it's my suspicion that other writers would back me up. Again, how many writers have you pushed away from the industry through your barrage of negativity, without ever catching sight of their potential? Possibly it's none--apparently you've only been on the site about a year and a half, and there are plenty of others giving opinions on stuff. But what I'm not understanding is, if you're so experienced and knowledgeable about how the industry works, why not give me some meaningful advice on publishers and agents that are exceptions to the commonly accepted rules you always bring up, instead of just telling me there's no way my book will sell?
You want me to tell you about the agents who want NA books 3x the normal length that are not standalone? I have never heard of such a thing. Why you think it's encouraging to say 'well, you never know, some miracle might happen,' instead of, 'there are ways to make it work -- here's how,'' I don't know, but that seems like perspective.
Beyond that: so far as NA goes, it's still a young genre. I figure you know it only came to be considered a real genre about ten years ago, but since then, from what I've read it's grown quite a lot. I first read about it around a year ago, and it fills a niche that neither YA nor Adult nor any other genre covers. My (admittedly uninformed) opinion is that now that the genre has come into existence, it will never disappear. It might wax and wane as the years go by as with many trends, maybe like disco or something, but it's a genre of writing that I think a lot more people would read, if they even knew it existed.
I don't know why you think it will never disappear, but ok. The only debate I hear about NA over the past 6 months to a year is whether it's actually dead or still vaguely a thing that exists. It started as romance, people figured it would grow to encompass other genres (NA, like YA, is a category, not a genre), and it sort of had some traction in paranormal and then dropped back to romance pretty much and then people sort of gave up. The number of agents requesting it has fallen off sharply; it's not really stocked as a thing most places. No one can tell the future,and maybe something will happen to revive interest in it, but nothing currently going on suggests it's going to be around much longer.
In fact, maybe Shallow will even be the book that really puts the genre on the map. But since--so far as I can tell--you've been exclusively looking for reasons why Shallow will fail, I suppose that's something that likely hasn't entered into the rather narrow requirements you seem to have concluded for how a book can be successful--in spite the various exceptions to those rules.
I'm looking for ways to help you get requests off your query. I didn't make up publishing conventions or the market. Agents get hundreds of queries a week. You have like 20 seconds to convince them to not hit delete. Same as an elevator pitch -- if you got into an elevator with your dream agent, and had the time between floors to sell your book, you'd need to be able to do it, in a sentence or two, not start explaining why the agent should wait 10 minutes because you're different.
And as far as word count, yes, the 121,000 words for part 1 could probably be reduced by a few thousand and the ms would be tighter for it. But frankly this is a different kind of book, and once it gets out there I think most of the fans will agree that the word count was much more than justified.
You don't have fans. To have fans, you have to have the book published. To do that.... see where I'm going with this? Also, you don't know how many, many, many people have told me their work just couldn't be cut. It can almost always be cut, substantially, and be the better for it. Occasionally that's not true, but ... it's really almost always true, and everyone thinks they're the exception, and then see their work is much better cut down.
Anyway, I'm not going to attempt to address all the points you've brought up throughout the course of this thread, seeing as I have a query to focus on. I will simply say again that just because you've never seen something like I'm suggesting work, doesn't mean it can't.
Thank you for your comments, but I would appreciate it, and find it much more useful, if instead of solely pointing out possibilities for failure, you'd also use your energy to give me some pointers on who out there might be willing to pick up a book like mine. That would probably help me a lot, and I'm guessing you likely have a lot more familiarity with the industry than I.
I probably do. No one I know of.I don't know of everyone, god knows, but I don't know why you'd want to limit yourself so severely, instead of making your work appealing to more people.
This is not said out of anger, only constructive criticism. I hope you'll take some of it to heart.
Tomorrow I'll plan on the next version of my query, as well as giving out some more critiques--see you all then!