PitchWars, WriteOnCon, and Frustration

I’m involved in PitchWars this year. Here is what it is:


I even posted a link to my bio here:


I’m hoping it will help me jumpstart back into writing regularly. Maybe it will just drive me mad.

I’m also taking part in an online writing conference called WriteOnCon. I hope to use it to learn better about pitching and querying. Here is that: http://writeoncon.com/

And I’m a little frustrated and kind of near my wits’ end. I had a nice email today from the very kind and competent agent who had 50 pages of my work. Here’s what that agent said:

Dear Jared,

Thank you for the chance to consider this work. While I think the subject matter is fascinating — and I’m very impressed by your ability to write so well about your own experiences — I’m afraid I’m not sure how I would place this in the market as a novel. I’m afraid that, for me, the narration felt a little too matter-of-fact and I wasn’t drawn in enough by the narrative. I’m sure it’s incredibly difficult to rework your own life story into a novel, and I think this still read a little too much like an adult memoir, not a YA novel. You’ve set yourself a challenging and valuable task, but I’m just not confident I’d be able to place this in today’s very difficult YA market.
Have you thought about writing this book as a piece of nonfiction? I wonder if it might not be more marketable as a memoir aimed at teen readers, about your life and overcoming the challenges of your childhood, than as a novel. There is some resurgence in the YA memoir market right now.


The problem: I’ve heard this before. I thought I’d fixed it. So I’m left wondering if I really do know what I’m doing.

So it’s not a YA novel. It’s an adult contemporary novel with a young protagonist. Can that even sell?


So do I rewrite again, this time trying to add more narrative oomph, mostly via voice I believe– or do I give up on this and just stick to the non-fiction side of it?

I love this story. So much of me in it, but I took enough liberties that it’s also a dang good story. I love the end. Love it. Love the middle. Love the arc. I think the beginning still needs work.

Anyway, I guess I need to sleep on this, try to figure out what’s next. I don’t think there’s going to be an agent out there willing to give this a go, considering I’ve queried nearly 50 and had one nibble. And that nibble has passed now.

Those typical thoughts are back, too, by the way. Am I doing all of this for no good reason? All this emotional turmoil, all this angst, all this work, all this stress, all this time and in some cases money.

Is it even worth it? Am I going to succeed or not?

I don’t even have an 8-ball to answer that question.

About jaredgarrett

Jared Garrett is the author of Beat, a YA scifi thriller, and its forthcoming sequel, both published by Future House Publishing. A new series, debuting in January 2016 and also published by Future House, kicks off with Lakhoni, a fast-paced rescue adventure in a world reminiscent of Aztec culture, to be released in January 2016. He self-published Beyond the Cabin, a novelization of his childhood in a cult, in December 2014. Both Beat and Beyond the Cabin were Whitney Award nominees, and his story Song of the Wind, received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. In addition to writing, he's spent fifteen years in adult education and is an accomplished public speaker and workshop leader.
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