Been way too long so here's an update on where we stand in the process of finding a publisher for On the Edge of Some Place Else.
Unfortunately, we are at the tail-end of round two in the submission process. First my agent directed the manuscript toward the Young Adult (YA) fiction market and the appropriate editors that she knows. The main reason, which I totally understand, is that the main character is 13-years-old: classic tell-tale sign of a YA novel. Personally, I was dubious about the approach. An editor friend told me, while I was still looking for an agent, to possibly pitch the novel as YA for the same reason, in hopes of broadening my search. But, while the main character is 13, the subject matter is well beyond that age group, in my opinion. Sure YA can deal with all sorts of subjects nowadays (sex, drugs, rape, murder even, vampires for sure) but my novel definitely wasn't written with that age group in mind, so it has an overtly mature sensibility to it. Even the main character's voice comes off much more mature for his age (something the editors marked, as well). And that was the consensus of all the editors to whom we pitched the novel: great writing but the book just isn't YA. (Well, some didn't add the "great writing" part, but that's too painful to write about). One editor, Brian Farrey at FLUX Publishing, absolutely loved the book. After the first read he thought: No, not YA at all. But he read it again just to make sure! Then handed it off to his most mature reader, who also loved it but agreed that it was too mature for YA. He wrote the best rejection I've ever received (and according to him "the hardest he's ever had to write") and I thank him for it.
So, round two has been directed at the adult fiction editors out there. So far, out of 6 editors, 5 have rejected (bringing the grand total to 13!). While most have actually liked the writing (no, seriously, that actually said that!), the book just hasn't grabbed them enough to want to take the risk on a first-time novelist writing Literary Fiction dealing with rape and a sexual relationship between a 13-year-old boy and his male former sixth grade teacher. Imagine that! While we are waiting for the last of the 6 to respond (come on Chuck Adams at Algonquin Books, come on, come through for me, Baby!), my agent is compiling list number three. She is amazing in her unwavering support (I've asked her if it's wavering and she said no). She encourages me with each rejection to not give up, that IT will happen, that she will not give up until the books sells! I love her for that.
And I am not giving up, either. As gut-wrenching each and every rejection has been, I can't give up on this. The book is good. I like the book. I want to read it when it comes out, I like it that much. I believe in my agent. I believe in myself. I believe in my talent. It WILL happen! We just have to find that one editor who recognizes that there is an audience for this book and not despite its subject matter but because of it and what it says about humanity. We've found one so far and there will be another.
So, that's where we are right now. In the meantime, I continue to work on novel number two and check my emails for that one that says: you will be a published author! It is coming.