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View Full Version : Oh good. The best thing I have is pornographic and unmarketable



pepperlandgirl
03-23-2005, 12:09 AM
That's what an agent who read the first 50 pages of Mad World said anyway. He said he thinks I'm a talented writer, but well, it's pornographic and unmarketable and it will alienate all the readers.

The rejection hurts, but that's not what I'm really feeling right now. I never thought it was pornographic or unmarketable. It's dark and a bit hard-core and rough and not light summer reading, but, I don't know...I had the foolish (though not uncommon notion) that if I loved it enough, everybody else would love it too.

He said he'd like to see my next work. I don't have anything for him right now. A bunch of unfinished WIPs that I don't have any real faith in.

To top it all off, I have received nothing but rejection letters from MFA programs. They base their decisions heavily on writing samples. I'm waiting to hear from two more schools (the most prestigious schools) and then I can try to get my life back together and figure out what I'm going to do once I graduate in May.

Medievalist
03-23-2005, 12:12 AM
Send it to Ellora's Cave or Loose ID or Liquid Silver. (All are e-book publishers, some also do paperbacks, all are .com websites.)

pepperlandgirl
03-23-2005, 12:25 AM
It's not erotica though.

Yes, there is a lot of sex. But the sex scenes are not meant to be titilating or arousing. They're not meant to get people off. My characters are so messed up that it's the only way they can communicate, and the scenes evolve and eventually drop off as they learn to actually approach each other as real people.

*sigh* But maybe it is the only way to get it out there. When push comes to shove, publishers/agents/editors aren't interested in what I intended, only what they can sell, and I know this isn't marketable to a large number of people. I always knew. But I also know for a fact that there is an audience for it.

Trapped in amber
03-23-2005, 12:44 AM
These are the views of one agent? I hope you carry on submitting it, it sounds good. There might be other agents who do know of a market for this book. Good luck:Sun:.

Wandering Sensei
03-23-2005, 12:52 AM
Laurell K Hamilton has a lot of sex in her books. They sell very well, and they're not considered to be pornography.

DeadlyAccurate
03-23-2005, 12:54 AM
That's what an agent who read the first 50 pages of Mad World said anyway. He said he thinks I'm a talented writer, but well, it's pornographic and unmarketable and it will alienate all the readers.

Well, you know that's not completely true. You have one reader right here who enjoyed it. His is just one opinion. I'm sure someone out there will like it.



He said he'd like to see my next work. I don't have anything for him right now. A bunch of unfinished WIPs that I don't have any real faith in.

This is very good, though. He thought you were talented enough to ask for more.

maestrowork
03-23-2005, 01:25 AM
Pepperland, don't let one agent get you down. Obviously he's not a right match for you. I mean, would you rather him take you on, then ask you to change everything to fit his needs? Or would you rather have an agent who loves your book the way it is?

Don't think of it as you're begging an agent to do a favor for you. Think of it as auditioning an agent -- the right one to represent your book. After all, your book is going to make them money. Maybe if you think that way, you will feel better.

The thing you should be saying is: Thanks for auditioning. Next.

brinkett
03-23-2005, 01:35 AM
The thing you should be saying is: Thanks for auditioning. Next.
Love it! :)

veinglory
03-23-2005, 01:47 AM
There are markets for all sorts of content so long as it is well written. Some publishers even specialise in the edgier stuff.

pepperlandgirl
03-23-2005, 01:53 AM
There are markets for all sorts of content so long as it is well written. Some publishers even specialise in the edgier stuff.

Heh, can anybody point me towards those publishers?

Alphabeter
03-23-2005, 04:30 PM
I know they were graphic novels, but who published Larry...?'s Sin City? (The movie based on them is coming out soon)

They have a dark use of sex.

When you query publishers, that would be a good example to use.

Lady Brick
03-23-2005, 07:25 PM
Just a note... Sin City is written by Frank Miller (think he does the art too, but not sure) and published by Dark Horse. Frank Miller is also well known for his work on superheroes, including giving us the dark dark dark modern Batman we all know and love. </uselesscomicsknowledge>

veinglory
03-23-2005, 07:45 PM
I read guidelines for a UK publisher recently that wanted gritty, urban, sex, violence etc. Young, edgy and words like that. Hmm. If you send me a synopsis and perhaps a one page sample I will see what I can come up with. ( veinglorisATlycos.com (veingloria@lycos.com))

pepperlandgirl
03-23-2005, 09:52 PM
You've got mail, vein. Thank you very much :)

pepperlandgirl
03-27-2005, 04:38 AM
And...strike 2. The second agent didn't even give me a reason why. Ah well, I had second thoughts about him anyway.

I'm not sure what to do now.

MacAllister
03-27-2005, 04:41 AM
Frank Miller also did the definitive Daredevil/Elektra story arc--an incredibly talented writer--but I love him best paired with John Romita Jr.'s art...</comic knowledge sidetrack>

Pepper--don't get discouraged. It wouldn't be unheard of for you to submit the thing to thirty or forty agents before you found a match. It's trying, I know--but just part of the process.

pepperlandgirl
03-27-2005, 04:52 AM
Yeah, I know one thing I should do is "keep submitting" but from the latest round of rejections, I'm thinking I need to massively overhaul my query letter. I can't believe a single page of writing intimidates me so much.

I also think I need to come up with a better game plan than the one I have now.

SRHowen
03-27-2005, 05:00 AM
How many agents have you subbed to? If I am reading right--only 2?

It took me 65 to find the right one--keep going.

Shawn

pepperlandgirl
03-27-2005, 05:04 AM
More than 2. Only two asked to read the first 50 pages based on the query letter. Everybody else just sent a polite "thanks but no thanks."

dragonjax
03-27-2005, 05:15 AM
Heh, can anybody point me towards those publishers?

Pepperland, I sent you an e-mail message.

pepperlandgirl
03-27-2005, 05:23 AM
Thank you, I got it :)

pepperlandgirl
03-27-2005, 06:53 AM
If anybody could help me in this thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134329#post134329) I would be much obliged :)

dragonjax
03-27-2005, 08:20 AM
Hmmm. Honestly, pepper, between the two, I liked the first graf better. But I think both versions are giving away too much, revealing too much, and are too long overall.

What's the hook? Why should anyone read the book?

Better yet, give me the "T.V. Guide Version": In one sentence, describe your book. Ready? Go!

pepperlandgirl
03-27-2005, 10:26 AM
But in a query to an agent, don't I want to give them as much information as I can?

The reason I don't like the first one is that it makes it sound like the murderer is the "a plot." But it is not, the relationship between Jason and Daisy is the "A plot" and the murderer serves their story.

Hmmm, a one-line tv guide summary? I don't know if I can...

Police detective Jason Squires is dangerously obsessed with the one woman who can destroy him completely.

um...or...

Daisy Winters is obsessed with a man who wants to own and break her, yet loves her because he can do neither

dragonjax
03-27-2005, 05:09 PM
But in a query to an agent, don't I want to give them as much information as I can?
Nope. You want to give them just enough to want to read a sample of your work. Don't show the smoke and mirrors, just a part of the magic trick.


The reason I don't like the first one is that it makes it sound like the murderer is the "a plot." But it is not, the relationship between Jason and Daisy is the "A plot" and the murderer serves their story.

Hmmm, a one-line tv guide summary? I don't know if I can...

Police detective Jason Squires is dangerously obsessed with the one woman who can destroy him completely.

um...or...

Daisy Winters is obsessed with a man who wants to own and break her, yet loves her because he can do neither

I like the first one better; the second one, even though you mention Daisy by name, it's not really about her, is it? It's about the guy obsessing about her.

Okay, using the first description, I'd say that's a terrific hook, but it's not a one-sentence description of what your book is about. Don't worry about subplots at this point. A really stark, bare bones "WHAT IS THIS" is what I'm asking for.

So, pepper, what's your book about? (No fair cheating and saying "About 300 pages.")

Jamesaritchie
03-27-2005, 08:03 PM
But in a query to an agent, don't I want to give them as much information as I can?

The reason I don't like the first one is that it makes it sound like the murderer is the "a plot." But it is not, the relationship between Jason and Daisy is the "A plot" and the murderer serves their story.

Hmmm, a one-line tv guide summary? I don't know if I can...

Police detective Jason Squires is dangerously obsessed with the one woman who can destroy him completely.

um...or...

Daisy Winters is obsessed with a man who wants to own and break her, yet loves her because he can do neither

What you want to do is make the plot sound exciting, and give them as many high points as possible. Read the jacket copy on a paperback novel. There you have the perfect template for a query length synopsis.

dragonjax
03-27-2005, 08:58 PM
There's a terrific book called Your Novel Proposal: From Creation to Contract by Blythe Camenson and Marsall Cook. There's an entire chapter dedicated to queries, and another chapter dedicated to the evil thing known far and wide as The Dreaded Synopsis. I highly recommend the book.

pepperlandgirl
03-28-2005, 10:17 PM
Okay, using the first description, I'd say that's a terrific hook, but it's not a one-sentence description of what your book is about. Don't worry about subplots at this point. A really stark, bare bones "WHAT IS THIS" is what I'm asking for.

So, pepper, what's your book about? (No fair cheating and saying "About 300 pages.")

Heh, you'd think after laboring over this MS for two years, I'd be able to answer your question.

It's about two people trapped in a violent relationship and all the ways they hurt each other.

dragonjax
03-28-2005, 11:45 PM
Okay, pepper, how's this?

Detective Jason Squires has a lot to be depressed about: his son is dead, his wife hates him, and the streets of Pomona, California, are littered with mutilated corpses. He knows who the killers are, but he can't track them down. And then there's his growing infatuation with Daisy Winters, a streetwise young prostitute nearly as obsessed with him as he is with her. As the two become bound ever closer together through mutual attraction and a penchant for violence, the killers are closing in--first murdering Jason's estranged wife, then targeting Daisy. Jason vows to avenge his family and protect his lover, but he discovers that Daisy is willing to do whatever it takes to protect herself and her interests, and she will take down anyone who gets in her way...including Jason himself.

Mad World, a WORD-COUNT, GENRE novel... (etcetera)

pepperlandgirl
03-29-2005, 12:22 AM
Ok, how does this sound, based on the comments in this thread and the other one.

Mutilated corpses litter Pomona California, and Detective Jason Squires is pressured to find a killer who leaves no evidence. His private life is a disaster as well. Estranged from his wife after the death of their infant son, he finds himself in the grip of growing obsession with young prostitute, Daisy Winters. As Jason and the killer dance around each other, he is increasingly distracted and frustrated by Daisy, who never loses control in their mercurial, passionate, and violent relationship. The killer closes in on Jason--first murdering Jason's estranged wife, then targeting Daisy. Jason vows to avenge his family and protect his lover, but Daisy doesn't need Jason's protection. Daisy is willing to do whatever it takes to protect herself and her interests, and she will take down anyone who gets in her way...including Jason himself.

I want to add this line somewhere, but I'm not sure it fits
Their lives are tied together forever by an agonizing love and intense passion, and neither will escape the situation unchanged.

veinglory
03-29-2005, 12:25 AM
I've been asking around about publishers. Nothing specific yet but I know Ive seen one that would be just right -- if only I could find the bookmark.

pepperlandgirl
03-29-2005, 12:34 AM
I've been asking around about publishers. Nothing specific yet but I know Ive seen one that would be just right -- if only I could find the bookmark.

Awesome. Thank you. I hope you find that bookmark! *crosses fingers*

dragonjax
03-29-2005, 12:45 AM
I think you're just about there.

Dear AGENT:

Mutilated corpses litter Pomona, California, and Detective Jason Squires is pressured to find a killer who leaves no evidence. His private life is a nightmare as well. Estranged from his wife after the death of their infant son, he finds himself in the grip of growing obsession with young prostitute, Daisy Winters. As Jason and the killer dance around each other, Jason is increasingly distracted and frustrated by Daisy, who never loses control in their mercurial, passionate, and violent relationship. When the killer closes in on Jason--first murdering his wife, then targeting Daisy--the detective discovers that his lover doesn't need his protection. Daisy is willing to do whatever it takes to protect herself and her interests, and she will take down anyone who gets in her way...including Jason himself.

Mad World, a WORD COUNT GENRE novel, is the story of Jason and Daisy. Their lives are tied together forever by an agonizing love and intense passion, and neither will escape the situation unchanged.

Would you be interestested in reading Mad World?

Sincerely,

pepperlandgirl
03-29-2005, 12:53 AM
Hmm, I think it is there! :) Now, I just need to figure out what genre it is, and it's good to go! (I'm not kidding. I really don't know what genre it is. It sorta straddles several, but at the same time, it doesn't really fit into any).

dragonjax
03-29-2005, 01:00 AM
Hmm, I think it is there! :) Now, I just need to figure out what genre it is, and it's good to go! (I'm not kidding. I really don't know what genre it is. It sorta straddles several, but at the same time, it doesn't really fit into any).
What section of the bookstore would you go to if you wanted to purchase it?

pepperlandgirl
03-29-2005, 01:19 AM
Thriller (perhaps "erotic thriller")/Mystery?

dragonjax
03-29-2005, 01:27 AM
Thriller (perhaps "erotic thriller")/Mystery?
Personally, I'd stick with "thriller" for the agent query. You don't want to pigeonhole your work and effectively cut yourself off from the bulk of agents out there who may be quick to say that they don't handle that specialized subgenre. Just a suggestion. And best of luck to you!

Carrie Ann Eggert
03-29-2005, 07:51 AM
Have you ever read a Jean Auel book? These tomes are filled to the brim with sensual scenes of lust. This, however, adds to the story and makes it all too real (and modern, too, considering the fact it's all based in a world long-gone). I'm sure that anyone who turned her down because of it sure does regret it today!

Keep at it and don't give up! Your synopsis sounds intriguing. Keep at it and good luck!

Carrie:)

SRHowen
03-29-2005, 11:26 PM
Jean M. Auel should have written erotica or porn--her first books were good, the last few --well Plains of Passage should have been Plains of Sex. The sex added little to the story line, in fact detracted from it. And I don't agree it makes the books "modern" or "more real." People have been having sex forever, not just in modern times.

Her first books were filled with her research, and it was a new conncept, she was the first to do Prehistoric fiction (since her, there have been many others much better done) After that, she ran out of new concepts to introduce and got caught up in the sex stuff.

I couldn't even finish Plains of Passage, didn't bother with any of the books after that.

Shawn

Carrie Ann Eggert
03-30-2005, 12:59 AM
Jean M. Auel should have written erotica or porn--her first books were good, the last few --well Plains of Passage should have been Plains of Sex. The sex added little to the story line, in fact detracted from it. And I don't agree it makes the books "modern" or "more real." People have been having sex forever, not just in modern times.

Her first books were filled with her research, and it was a new conncept, she was the first to do Prehistoric fiction (since her, there have been many others much better done) After that, she ran out of new concepts to introduce and got caught up in the sex stuff.

I couldn't even finish Plains of Passage, didn't bother with any of the books after that.

Shawn

Well to be honest I totally agree with you on her latest book. I couldn't get past "The Shelters of Stone" but it had little to do with the sex and everything to do with the character of Jondalar (for some reason I don't like his manipulation of Ayla and feel she would have been better off with Ranec of the Mamutoi [The Mammoth Hunters]).

I would have happier if Ayla had stayed with the Mamutoi who excepted her completely but then that would be the end of the conflict and there would be no more to tell.

As for sex not making things more real...well...it can go too far which makes it erotica but the fact is that her books are considered historical romance. Shouldn't there be sparks and a desire to share every minute of the day with the one you love in a romance book?:kiss:

Pepperlandgirl...I'm sorry for taking it off your topic...Shawn...please feel free to respond in PM to my post so we can leave Pepper's free to talk about her novel...not Auel's. :)

Carrie:)

SRHowen
03-30-2005, 03:27 AM
Aahh, but when her books first came out they were not considered to be romance at all--they were held in high regard because of the vast research she did into prehistoric life. There were TV specials about her research showing her leaning how to do various things that primitive peoples would have done.

It's only been since the big pause between books (her divorce etc et el) that they now have come out as romance.

I think too many new writers did much better than Auel on the writing end, and I have to wonder--her ex-husband claimed to have some input into the early books (pre-divorce) I wonder if that was true. Even if he was a sounding board for the ideas and plots. Or if she was perhaps a one trick pony. Had a great idea, one no one ever did before, but then she didn't know how to work out a plot without the new idea thing there to be her backbone.

Personally, I loved her first books--when they were prehistoric fiction not romance.

(And no I have nothing against romance, my agent is marketing my latest as romance/fantasy)

And don't worry about the thread, once you spend more time here, you'll see that we sidetrack threads all the time.

Shawn

Sassenach
04-01-2005, 11:30 PM
pepperlandgirl wrote:
Yes, there is a lot of sex. But the sex scenes are not meant to be titilating or arousing. They're not meant to get people off. My characters are so messed up that it's the only way they can communicate, and the scenes evolve and eventually drop off as they learn to actually approach each other as real people.

Then why is is there? It seems to me that you can make that point without 'a lot' of sex--especially if you're getting negative responses to it.

pepperlandgirl
04-01-2005, 11:57 PM
pepperlandgirl wrote:
Yes, there is a lot of sex. But the sex scenes are not meant to be titilating or arousing. They're not meant to get people off. My characters are so messed up that it's the only way they can communicate, and the scenes evolve and eventually drop off as they learn to actually approach each other as real people.

Then why is is there? It seems to me that you can make that point without 'a lot' of sex--especially if you're getting negative responses to it.

Well, I already edited out about 50% of the sex. But when you have two characters at their most naked and vulnerable, you can convey a vast array of information. For example:

Their first two encounters are from Jason's POV and it wouldn't be a stretch to call them rapes (the second one anyway). Why would he do that? Why would there be a third encounter? What can I show about Jason in those moments? I can show that he's crazy, I can show that he's controlling, I can show that he's angry, I can show that he's self-loathing, and I can show surprising weaknesses. That's just with him. What about Daisy? Well, I can show all the reasons that he becomes obsessed with her, I can set her up for other things (foreshadowing, for example, that she knows how to use a gun and has absolutely no qualms), as well as how strong she is, and how fearless (or stupid) she is.

Well, then, why is there a third encounter? I won't explain how they cross paths again, but it's still violent, yet, consenual. Why is it consenual? What does he want from her? What does she want from him? Is there a connection--well, yes there is. There's certain things that people can say or do that reveals a great deal about who they are--it's interesting to me that he perfers her on top. Why would he do that? What does it say about what he wants from her?

And it goes on and on. To me, that makes the first night they spend together where there is no sex whatsoever even more powerful. He just wants to be with her, and she just wants to sleep--but she trusts him enough to actually fall asleep.

Or there's the time after his wife is murdered and Daisy uses her body and the control she has over his to keep him from making a very, very bad mistake. Obviously, this scene would have a completely different dynamic and different acts than previous scenes--his world is falling apart and for some reason she doesn't understand she's trying to save him from himself. But I know my characters, and I know a simple discussion about their feelings or Daisy trying to do something nice wouldn't work--he's out for blood, literally.

As the novel progresses and they become more accustomed, and then more dependent on each other, this dynamic evolves and changes. Or, in other words, my characters are so hard and shut off from the world that only their bodies are responsive and active, their hearts and minds are completely out of touch.

I think that if DeadlyAccurate visits this thread, she could give you more insight...after all, readers tend to be perceptive and aware of different things than writers. She might be able to tell you if my high ideals actually worked.

DeadlyAccurate
04-02-2005, 01:43 AM
Actually, there's not really much I could add to pepperlandgirl's post other than, "Yep, it worked." Quite well, in fact. Not many books these days that I read in one sitting, but this one I did. The characters are not good, moral people, but they are at times sympathetic, and they're always real. The sex actually was necessary to the story because of who the characters are.

aboyd
04-03-2005, 11:06 PM
He said he thinks I'm a talented writer, but well, it's pornographic and unmarketable and it will alienate all the readers.That sounds like the only kind of story I'd bother to read.