Dear Ms. Snark,
I write a novel, The Jaguar’s Heart, this after writing and selling over a hundred articles and short stories disguised as articles, two children’s books, two TV shows, and more commercials and videos than I want to talk about. On the advice of a well known novelist, and an editor, I write to thriller length, 180,000 words
I go to Southern California Writer’s Conference for a reality check. I read, get spontaneous ovation from a room full of strangers. SCWC editor says, You don’t need me. Send it, you’ll sell it.” I pitch sixteen agents. Get requests for three partials, two fulls, which result in two, “I’ll take it,
First if: “Terrific read, evocative prose, etc, etc... But, it’s set in Mexico and Mexico is all poor people and drug dealers. Publishers don’t like Mexico. I’ll take if you change the setting.”
Second if: “It’s really good, but too long. Nobody wants big books these days. Cut it to 100,000 words and I can sell it muy pronto. Or, make it two books. I can sell both.”
I can’t move the setting. It’s got Aztecs and brujos for Christ's sake. I’m talking to a producer about a film option. He calls it, “Castaneda meets Clancy.”
As a journalist I write to word count, but losing 80,000 words of an 180,000
word novel isn’t a cut, it’s a chainsaw rewrite.
Should I fire up the chainsaw, maybe going for two books? Or keep pitching?
Thanks in advance,
PS Cool blog, except we gotta talk about your taste in booze.
No thriller is 180,ooo words and yours doesn't need to be either and I can tell you that without reading it.
The Mexico objection is just stupid. Every agent and most smart publishers know exactly how many people in this country speak Spanish as their first language, and how many US citizens like to vacation in Mexico, retire to Mexico; and understand that Mexico like most countries has a wide variety of people, a substantial middle class, a thriving literary community and oh yea..they buy books.
You can whine about my taste in hooch when you start buying it bucko