A New Direction

For the past year and a half, I've been submitting a historical romance. While it garnered a few requests, it has also garnered its share of rejections. The last rejection was filled with good advice and an invitation to resubmit.

I think I'm going in a new direction though.

My other manuscripts are contemporary romances. If an agent sells my historical, there's a good chance I'll be expected to continue writing historicals. Right now my heart is with contemporaries.

Thus, the historical is done making the agent rounds. One of my contemporaries is ready to be queried and I think that will be my new direction.

Which direction are you headed in? What's your favorite genre to read? Do you realize that you may expected to continue writing whatever you first submit?

Thanks to Diane for inspiring this post


Tabitha Bird said…
I have always wondered how that works with memoirs. My memoir will be the firs thing I submit, yet I don't see myself churning out a memoir each year! LOL! I am just not that interesting!

Have you, or anyone else got any insight into that one?

btw- I like your new direction. If your heart is heading somewhere else it is always best to follow :)
Jessica Nelson said…
Tabitha, I'm not sure. Do you read R. Gardner's blog? She loves memoirs and possibly may have a post about them. There are a few people who've written more than one memoir. Who knows? By the time yours comes out, you may be ready to write about marriage, parenthood and moving into new/old houses. :-)

There's always publishing under a different name for fiction too, but if you're a bestseller with your memoir, I have a feeling you can break out of the box.
Katie Ganshert said…
I think that's a smart decision Jessica. Right now, Rachelle's submitting my contemp. romance, and that's definitely where my heart is. Although I do like women's fiction. But thankfully, those are pretty close genres. I don't think it would be a big problem to write both. At least I don't htink it would! Maybe I should check on that one. :)
Krista Phillips said…
I think there are plenty of writer's who write both historical and contemporary romance, but follow you heart, absolutely!

Kaye Dacus is a new one who comes to mind... she has a historical series out with Harvest house but also writes contemporaries with Barbour. Her first novel was published January 2009...

My point is it can be done!
Jessica Nelson said…
Katie, I know, I'm so excited for you! :-) My WIP kept edging toward women's fiction. I've never written that genre before but I think you're right that they're close.

Thanks Krista! I know that I can do it, but I think the ability to break out of the box may depend on the success of our first books. But maybe not... *grin*
It makes absolute sense, Jessica. I'm glad you've focused on your target, and can move ahead with a plan in place. Good for you!
Terri Tiffany said…
I'm happy you have another choice to submit and are ready to do that! GO for it! ANd YES you should submit to Genesis. I think the critiques are awesome and if we don't make it, then we clean up the manuscript and start submitting it. THat's how I use that contest.
Jessica, I'm torn here. With an offer to resubmit with suggested changes I'd have a difficult time not attempting to do just that. I wonder if an agent would have some good advice on this.

Here's another thought, do those changes slowly as you sub your contemporaries so that you have a historical for an agent to shop too once you break in with the contemporaries.

I can't wait to see you agented and your work sold, Jessica!!
Jessica Nelson said…
Thanks Janna. It's taking me a while to come to this, but right now, it feels right. I'm still going to sub the story to publishers but for agenting I'm subbing another story. I can do that, right? LOL Not sure it's okay, but that's the plan.

Terri, I'm so nervous. It's been a long time since I subbed to contests. Whew. Thanks for the pep talk!

Eileen, you're so sweet! Really, have such a gentle and sweet spirit. Thank you for your encouragement. :-) I think the agent's advice in her rejection was probably pretty valid. I probably will relook at the story and see how I can fix things. Thanks for the suggestion. It's very good and doable. Alot of authors write both genres, why not me? Heehee!
Excellent post, Jessie.

I think you are taking a wise direction, one inspired of the Lord. May He bless your work and give you favor. Many readers will not look at an historical, but love contemporary.

I keep plugging away on my "nutty with a dash of meat" nf books. They have a home somewhere...
Diversity! Gives you more options and possibilites/chances to get published.

I write mostly fiction short stories about contemporary women and how they overcome their trials and tribulations.

But I've done horror, romance, sci-fi on ocassion and they've gotten published. It was fun to step out of my genre and experiment with others.

Wishing you success in all your writing endeavors.
Linda Kage said…
Congrats on the request to resubmit! That's amazing. You're really close now.

But, yeah, if you're positive that's the only historical you'll ever write, maybe you should wait until you have a few contemporaries sold before returning to it. Then again, you're really close to selling. Maybe you could publish it under a pen name.
Karen Lange said…
I'm excited for you with your new direction! It's so nice to feel like you are in the right place. Will pray for you that you have continued wisdom.

Sarah Forgrave said…
I'm like Katie (well, except for the having-an-agent part) in that I write mostly contemp. romance but also have a women's fiction manuscript. For me personally, historical fiction has never held any interest. I enjoy reading it sometimes, but writing it just doesn't sound appealing to me. Maybe it's all the extra research. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Hey Sarah, well, I wouldn't say I'm too into historical fiction, but historical romances... love those! From Westerns to Regencies, I think they have more flexibility with the heroes and in making them bossier, etc, than a contemporary does. I like me a bossy man (only in fiction though, LOL).

Thanks Karen! Wisdom is the principal thing, right? :-)

Hi Linda, wellll I don't know if I'm really close *grin* but knowing I could resubmit feels great. :-) I probably will write more historicals someday, but for now, contemporary feels good to me.
Jessica Nelson said…
Jeanette! You're so funny. I think your posts are closer to meaty though, with a sprinkle of nut. Heeheee!
I hope they find a home too! You're a wise, encouraging woman. :-)

Donna, all I can say is WOW. You're very diverse and my hat's off to you, especially because you've been successful at it.
Diveristy definitely opens our possibilities.
Anonymous said…
You've got a plan! Thanks for the shout out. Glad you are still in the romance vein since that seems to be your speciality!!! :O)
Jessie Oliveros said…
That's sad that you are putting it to rest, but I see the wisdom in your move. My books tend to the same genre.
Patti said…
Right now I have more ideas in the YA genre. Good for you to recognize what you really wanted to do.
Jessica Nelson said…
Never fear, Diane! Romance is always going to be where the passion is at for me. :-)

Jessie, that's good that you stick to the same genre. It's not bad to diversify, but if all your stories are in one genre, I'd think it would be easier to build your audience.

Hey Patti,
That's so cool! I have NO ideas for YA and I'm amazed by those of you who can write it. It's like you're in touch with your inner teenager.
And I'm the old fogey. *grin*
Erica Vetsch said…
I love to read and write historical romance.

It would be hard to pass up on an invitation to resubmit.
Dara said…
We must be on the same page--I just had a blog post two days ago with a similar title :P Although mine had to do with starting my current WiP from the beginning since it went all over the place in the first draft...

Anyway, I'm still in the historical camp, although recently I've been more of a historical/fantasy writer. I've only recently come up with one idea for a contemporary; 99% of my ideas still have that thread of history in them. I don't mind if I become a historical/historical fantasy writer--I honestly can't think of ever being anything else.

Oh and favorite genre to read is historical too--although I'm finding myself drawn more and more to fantasy.
Be thankful that you got feedback on your rejections because some of us get nothing lol
Elana Johnson said…
Good for you, for deciding where you want to go. Good luck in the querying round!

As for me, I am very aware that I'll be stuck writing what I first submit. So far it's been okay, and my agent has said she'd like to see something else from me, so maybe I won't be stuck? Who knows.
Debra E. Marvin said…
My heart is with historicals. I have a contemporary completed but it was for the old 'love and laughter' line.
(I hope I'm not the only one who recalls it...)

I wish you great success this year, Jessica, whatever you do! This is always a nice place to come and visit.
Julie Dao said…
Good for you! I'm glad you're taking the rejection and the feedback as a chance to reassess and to concentrate on where your heart really is :) I love historical romance and I think that you should definitely try putting yours out there again someday, if you ever feel the time is right. I'm crossing my fingers for you! Good luck with everything, you will be great :)
Jessica Nelson said…
Julie, I really am. Though I love this story, I feel like if I sub it anymore, I'm going to be in a corner I'm not ready for. Don't worry, I'm not shelving it. :-) You're writing a historical too, right? but it's not romance, is it?

Debra, I'm trying to remember which story of yours I judged...I only remember that it was really good. Hmmm. I love historical romances too! They're so fun.

You never know, Elana! I hope you find your perfect fit of genre (s). :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Erica, it is hard. I had another invite to resub this story but the agent wanted me to change the heroine. I knew for a fact I couldn't do that, but this time, these changes...yeah, it's tough. I know I could make the story better and faster, so I really had to think about things. I'm just hoping I'm making the right choice.

Hi Dara,
Whoops! Maybe I subconsciously stole your title? Sorry about that. *cringing and grinning* I had thought you wrote historical fantasy anyway, because of Lady of the Snow. I think that would be an interesting genre to read.

Hey there, Rejection Queen. :-) Trust me, I got lots of form rejections. I'm extremely thankful this agent gave me her opinion. Especially since it resonates with me and I think she may be right.
Windy said…
Amazing what rejections can help you realize, isn't it? Happy to hear you're taking a step back and really considering where you want to be in the long term.

I primarily read/write contemporary YA, however I've recently also branched out into paranormal YA and it makes me wonder which I'd prefer to write more of consistently.

Thanks for planting the thought seed!
BK Mattingly said…
I learned I needed to rewrite some of my book from rejections. As much as I dislike them, sometimes they do help :) I'm heading in the YA direction on Urban Fantasy highway. :) I read everything. I hope I continue writing YA Urban fantasy. I'm lovin every bit of it and I hope I never tire of it.
Kristen Painter said…
I'm actually trying something new at the moment. Not sure about yet, but trying. (While still working on book 3 of my contract.)
Karen Hossink said…
What direction am I headed in? Oh, Jessica, I hope it's the right one!
Just had a great discussion today with my mentor/spiritual director about seeking a balance between grace and discipline with my kiddos.
Totally not the writing direction to which you were referring, but it's where I am at the moment. *grin*
Trusting God to lead me!
Belle said…
Great question, Jessica. I'm afraid I have such an eclectic taste in both my reading and what I like to write, I might end up having to go with a variety of pseudonyms for each genre/audience!
Angie Muresan said…
I love reading serious literature and contemporary romances. Wishing you a blessed submitting!
Jessica Nelson said…
Thank you Angie! :-)

Hi Belle, that's too funny! But it's definitely doable. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

Karen, I completely understand. I struggle with that too. Whew. This parenting thing is hard work, right? *grin*
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Windy A,
Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, it is odd. The whole time I was wondering, what if she wants to rep me? Will I have to stay with historicals? But she didn't and now, in a strange way, I'm both sad and relieved. I'm not sure about YA, since I don't read much of it anymore. I use to love the contemporary YAs though.

Bethany, wow, YA urban fantasy? That sounds really, really intriguing to me. Go you! And thanks for commenting. :-)

Kristen, that's awesome you're trying out something new. I have no doubt you'll succeed.
I can't believe you're on book 3 already! The first one in that series didn't come out yet, right? Wow.
Hi Jess -

Those are tough decisions. I pray the Lord will give you wisdom and direction.

Susan :)
anita said…
I love anything that's literary, but seem born to write historicals with paranormal / weird twists. Heh.

I think you made the right decision for you. I've got a really good feeling about your contemporaries!

You can always go back to historicals years down the road if you want to try something different! ;-)
Nancy J. Parra said…
I think you are being very smart.
It really is good advice to write what you love most because when you sell, your readers will want to read more of the same and your editor will be invested in your work and not want to hand you over to another line/department.
So, I agree, simply set the historical aside for now. You can always revise and sell later if you change your mind.

Wishing you all the best of luck!
Kathy said…
I mostly like to read thrillers but I don't write them.

I see what you're saying. If I sell a romance, I'll have to keep writing romances. I'd be okay with that.
Patti Lacy said…
Jessica, how do you consistently write such thought-provoking posts?

My first two novels were contemporary fiction. The just-contracted My Name is Sheba is historical fiction (really no one knows what it is, and that was one of its problems!!!!). I am returning to my first love, contemporary, and plan to stay there for awhile.

You get'em, girl! With ya!!

Nancy said…
I love good and original childlren's books, any kind and just about anything with a reinvented Sherlock Holmes in it.

It is "spooky" to think a writer would be tagged to one genre just becaused he submitted it first. Doesn't seen fair.
Warren Baldwin said…
I have 3 more writing projects in the direction of my first book (Proverbs). Three different audiences are in mind. When those 3 books are done (hopefully this year) I think that will be enough for that direction!
Jessica Nelson said…
Thanks for sharing what you all have been writing! It's so interesting for me to learn about all of you. :-)

Hi Nancy,
I'm not sure fair is the right word, but I know what you mean. I guess it's because the publisher has to lay down a lot of money before the author makes any, so they want to make sure they stick with what works. That's my take, at least. It's not the rule though, just what's more common, I think.
I'll admit, there are authors I love who write different genres and I'll only read one of their genres. I don't read JD Robb, love Nora Roberts. Loved Victoria Holt, but not the books under her other name. Those are just a few examples. :-)

Patti, no worries. LOL Tomorrow is nothing thought-provoking, just some links. :-)

Thanks Nancy and Susan!

Thanks Anita! I feel good about my contemporaries too. For now, that's where the love is. *grin*
Anonymous said…
I love to write Speculative Christian Fiction but would write just about anything. I pray this new direction goes well for you!

-Alisa Hope

First Friday Fiction
Linda Glaz said…
Jess, if you follow your passion, you can't go wrong whether it's historical, contemp, or anything else. Only when you follow your passion will the words come out so that someone will want to read them.
Keli Gwyn said…
Jessie, I'm happy to hear you feel led to head in a new direction and are at peace with that decision. May you experience joy anew when you work on your contemporaries.
Jessica Nelson said…
Thanks Alisa! Christian speculative fiction is really an interesting genre, I think. There's alot of freedome to play in it. Thanks for stopping by!

Hey Linda,
You're the best crit bud ever! Thank you for your constant support. :-)

Keli, it's funny because you went back to historicals and I'm focusing on contemporaries. :-) I hope you have some exciting things happen this year with V&V!
Deb Shucka said…
You have my deepest admiration for following your heart. Like Tab, my first submitted book is a memoir. I figure I might have a couple of those (I'm a bit older than Tab, have lived more lives), but then I don't know. I do know that I write what's given me to write, and I hope there will always be a story needing to find its way through me, whatever the genre.
Unknown said…
I think I have decided to stick with YA. I enjoy it way more than Adult. So my first MS is probably going to take a big fat backseat for awhile.
Jessica Nelson said…
Ahh, I'm sorry but it's better to start out with what you like, right?

Deb, I'm sure you do! Keep going after what you want. :-) The nice thing is, I don't think the memoirs need to be in chronological order.
Oh, advice and a chance to resubmit is great, but at the same time I totally understand the desire to try something new. Good luck with the contemp. romance - it is my favorite!

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